Amazon Workers In Alabama To Start Mail Ballots For Unionization Vote

Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama are starting their mail-in voting on unionization Monday after the National Labor Relations Board or NLRB rejected the company’s request for a delay in election.

The regulator will mail ballots to around 6,000 workers at the warehouse starting Monday to decide whether to unionize, and the ballots must be returned by March 29.

Amazon workers at the facility had filed paperwork in last November for an election, seeking to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union or RWDSU.

The technology major, which was seeking a manual election despite the pandemic crisis, last month had requested the Board to halt the mail unionization vote at the company’s Bessemer, Alabama warehouse, asking to reconsider its plan.

Amazon argued that NLRB data show elections conducted by mail have a lower participation rate, and that the company was trying to increase turnout among employees.

In an order last Friday denying Amazon’s request, NLRB Chairman Lauren McFerran as well as its two members Marvin Kaplan and John Ring, said, “The public interest and safety of all involved in the election is best served, at this time, by avoiding the type of in-person gatherings that a manual election entails in circumstances where the risk of additional spread of infection could not be reasonably denied.”

Following the order, Amazon reportedly said it proposed a safe on-site election process validated by Covid-19 experts that would have allowed its associates to vote on their way to, during and from their already scheduled shifts.

The company said it will continue to insist on measures for a fair election that allows for a majority of its employee voices to be heard.

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