Amazon union vote count set to begin

It’s a watershed moment for the American labor movement as a union battles to plant its flag inside Amazon.

Regulators will begin counting ballots Thursday or Friday after workers at an Alabama Amazon warehouse voted whether or not to unionize.

A National Labor Relations Board agent will sift through ballots sent to more than 5800 workers.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union says more than 3200 ballots were cast, showing voter turnout of about 55%. That’s lower than the 72% response rate seen in other mail-ballot elections held during the health crisis, from mid-March through September. But it’s in-line with turnout seen in the prior six-month period before the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., according to the NLRB decision document.

The union drive has captured the attention of Washington, with President Joe Biden defending workers’ rights to form unions in February and Senator Bernie Sanders holding a rally with workers in March.

Experts say a union win would leave Amazon vulnerable to more organizing efforts.

Amazon has aggressively discouraged attempts by the union to organize, telling workers they might sacrifice certain benefits if the drive succeeds. The union has disputed that notion.