As Amazon union vote count drags on, activists say “this is everybody’s fight”

The public portion of the vote counting process to determine whether workers in a Birmingham, Alabama suburb will form the first-ever union at an Amazon warehouse is estimated to begin this week. The election will affect the 6,000 employees at the Bessemer warehouse.

But the final results could be delayed because both Amazon and the Retail, Warehouse, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) have an opportunity to issue legal challenges.

The public count was initially expected to begin last week but has been pushed back multiple times, signaling that challenges are potentially piling up. The National Labor Relations Board said starting the public portion has been a moving target and dependent on how quickly ballots and challenges are processed.

“The principal matter that has to be addressed is who is eligible to vote,” said William B. Gould IV, a law professor at Stanford and former chair of NLRB.

Gould said challenges can arise based on when employment begins, whether a worker is still part of the labor force at that facility, and whether managers or supervisors voted. Labor law does not allow supervisors to join unions because they are considered part of management.

“I am sure there are lots of challenges that are being made by both sides,” Gould said.

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