With about half the ballots counted late Thursday, votes against unionization had a more than 2-to-1 advantage over those in favor, according to a live broadcast of the counting that was tallied by The New York Times. When the counting paused, there were 1,100 votes against unionization and 463 in support.
The incomplete tally put Amazon on the cusp of defeating the most serious organized-labor threat in the company’s history. In a high-profile campaign since the fall, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union aimed to establish the first union at an Amazon warehouse in the United States. The result will have major implications not only for Amazon but also for organized labor and its allies.
The union said there were 3,215 ballots cast, from 55 percent of the 5,805 eligible voters at the warehouse, in the closely watched election. The union must get support from more than half of the votes cast to prevail.
The ballots were being counted in random order in the National Labor Relations Board’s office in Birmingham, Ala., and the process was broadcast via Zoom to more than 200 journalists, lawyers and other observers.
The voting was conducted by mail from early February until the end of last month. A handful of workers from the labor board called out the results of each vote “Yes” for a union or “No” for nearly four hours on Thursday. The counting is scheduled to resume early Friday.
Amazon and the union had spent more than a week in closed sessions, reviewing the eligibility of each ballot cast with the labor board, the federal agency that conducts union elections. The union said several hundred ballots had been contested, largely by Amazon, and those ballots were set aside to be adjudicated and counted only if they were vital to determining an outcome. If Amazon’s large margin holds steady throughout the count, the contested ballots are likely to be moot.