Union supporters brace for a loss in Alabama as labor officials count the ballots cast by Amazon warehouse workers in the most closely watched union election in years.
Officials from the National Labor Relations Council did almost half of the vote count on Thursday before breaking up for the night. The “no” votes led to the “yes” votes by 1,100 votes to 463.
Counting will resume on Friday morning, with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union expected to gain ground. The union would need to get a simple majority of the votes cast to win.
Union president Stuart Appelbaum released a statement Thursday evening suggesting that the union planned to challenge the election results based on Amazon’s behavior.
“Our system is broken,” Appelbaum said. “Amazon has taken full advantage of this and we will ask the Labor Relations Board to hold Amazon accountable for its illegal and egregious behavior during the campaign. But make no mistake about it; this is yet another important moment for workers and their voices will be heard.
More than 3,200 workers voted in the election out of about 5,800 who received them. If the RWDSU won, it would create the first syndicate in an Amazon warehouse in the United States.
The seven-week postal election featured the most serious union threat to Amazon’s U.S. operations to date. The labor effort has garnered support from across the country and abroad, with Amazon critics eager to see a showdown over the online retailer’s working conditions.
The company fought the organizational effort aggressively, by engaging “union avoidance” consultants who specialize in tackling union organizing campaigns. Managers and consultants held mandatory anti-union meetings and subjected staff to anti-union publications and texts.
If the union disputes the results, there will be a hearing to investigate the union’s allegations against Amazon. NLRB officials could potentially put the results aside and order a new election if they find Amazon’s behavior as egregious as the RWDSU has described it.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Calling all HuffPost superfans!
Sign up to become a Founding Member and help shape the next chapter of HuffPost