Update Friday, 1 p.m. ET:
The union effort looks to have been defeated. According to the latest count, only 738 workers voted in favor of the union versus 1,798 votes against it. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union has vowed to file formal objections, accusing Amazon of “blatantly illegal conduct” during the election. In a lengthy statement, Amazon countered claims of intimidation, saying its employees’ “collective voices were finally heard.”
It’s been 11 days since Amazon workers in the Bessemer, Alabama, fulfillment facility cast their votes on whether to unionize. With the caveat that votes are still being counted, it is now becoming clearer whether the vote to unionize will succeed, and potentially send shockwaves through the retail and e-commerce industries. Unfortunately for those supporting unionization, it looks like the effort may fail. Here’s what you need to know as of Friday:
- A total of 3,215 ballots were cast: Only workers at the Bessemer, Alabama, fulfillment facility could take part in the vote.
- Ballots began being counted on March 30: The ballots are being tallied by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Though voting ended on March 29, the vote was not a one-day affair. Mail-in voting had been going on since February.
- On Thursday, Amazon had a clear lead: Almost 70% of all ballots counted by the NLRB on Thursday rejected the union initiative, according to The Wall Street Journal. This is just one day of counting, but with a margin that great in favor of one side, it’s a sign that things are not close.
- 2-to-1 margin: Reuters says that as of the end of day Thursday, roughly half of the ballots had been counted; 463 of those voted in favor of unionization, while 1,100 voted against forming a union.
- Contested ballots: There is a large number of ballots being contested by both sides. How many? Around 500 in total. That means if the final result is within a 500-vote margin, we may not know the actual result for weeks as Amazon and union organizers fight over the contested ballots.
- Vote counting to continue: The vote counting will resume Friday morning at 8:30 a.m. local time. It is expected all the uncontested ballots could be counted by the end of today.