Wall Street Journal reports that an initial count of 72 percent of the ballots showed that around 71 percent of workers in Bessemer, Alabama decided not to join the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union. At least 1,608 votes against forming a union were cast, while 696 ballots were in favor of unionizing, which isn’t enough to surpass Amazon’s margin of victory.
However, the National Labor Relations Board hasn’t yet confirmed an official winner. The NLRB gives both sides a week to challenge the results before the victor is certified.
Less than one percent of Amazon’s approximately 950,000 U.S. Amazon employees work at the Bessemer location. Yet, the vote still became a landmark moment for the tech company, particularly following the growth it experienced during the pandemic. Amazon saw $386.1 billion in sales last year, with its share price increasing by around 76 percent—and to keep up with demand, the company hired around 500,000 new workers. Some Bessemer employees were looking to unionize so they would have the opportunity to negotiate matters like compensation, the pace of their work, and their break times.
Amazon tried to talk its workers out of unionizing with an anti-union blitz of messages directed at employees, saying it was unneeded since the company already pays double Alabama’s minimum wage and extends healthcare benefits to employees. The company also reminded workers that being part of a union costs money. Some employees who voted against unionizing said they didn’t understand how a union would make their situations better.