Amazon Union Election: Amazon’s first US union election since 2014 is scheduled to begin with the mailing of ballots in early February and a vote count starting March 30, a US labor board official said in a filing on Friday. The announcement brings employees at Amazon‘s fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama, a step closer to deciding whether to join part of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU). A “yes” vote would mark the first-ever for a US Amazon facility.
Unions have had greater success organizing at Amazon elsewhere, such as in France, where they precipitated a month-long closure of its warehouses last year. As of January 7, Amazon employed almost 6,200 hourly workers at the warehouse, according to the filing. To win, the union needs a simple majority of those who submit ballots.
While Amazon had preferred in-person voting, the labor board sided with the union on a mail-in procedure “because this is the safest and most appropriate method of conducting an election in view of the extraordinary circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the filing said.
America’s second-largest private employer after Walmart Inc, Amazon has long avoided unionization, and it has trained managers to spot organizing activity. A website, doitwithoutdues.com, warns the Bessemer employees, “Why pay almost $500 in dues? We’ve got you covered* with high wages, health care, vision, and dental benefits.”