With about half of the ballots counted Thursday night, the votes against unionization had a more than 2: 1 advantage over those in favor, according to a live broadcast of the count that was tallied by The New York Times. When the count stopped, there were 1,100 votes against unionization and 463 in favor.
The incomplete tally put Amazon on the brink of defeating the most serious union threat in company history. In a high-profile campaign since the fall, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union set out to create the first union in an Amazon warehouse in the United States. The result will have major implications not only for Amazon but also for unions and its allies.
The union said there were 3,215 ballots, from 55 percent of the warehouse’s 5,805 eligible voters, in the closely watched election. The union must obtain the support of more than half of the votes cast to win.
The ballots were counted in random order at the National Labor Relations Board’s office in Birmingham, Alabama, and the process was broadcast via Zoom to more than 200 reporters, lawyers and other observers.
The vote took place by mail from the beginning of February to the end of last month. A handful of workers at the Labor Relations Board called the results of every vote “Yes” for a union or “No” on Thursday for nearly four hours. The count is expected to resume early Friday.
Amazon and the union had spent more than a week behind closed doors, reviewing the eligibility of each ballot with the Labor Relations Commission, the federal agency that organizes union elections. The union said several hundred ballots were disputed, largely by Amazon, and those ballots were set aside to be judged and counted only if they were vital in determining an outcome. If Amazon’s large margin holds throughout the count, the disputed ballots will likely be irrelevant.