All eyes on two Amazon union votes: One too close to call, the other tilts toward labor

A person holding a pro-union sign.
Michael Foster of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union demonstrates outside Amazon’s facility in Bessemer, Ala., last year.
(Associated Press)

A redo vote on unionizing by Amazon workers at an Alabama warehouse was too close to call with contested ballots, and the final result will be determined after a federal labor board hearing in coming weeks.

Workers at the Bessemer warehouse, the early focus of a broad Amazon union campaign, narrowly rejected unionizing, with 993 votes against joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, and 875 votes in favor of joining.

But because the number of challenged ballots, 416, is larger than the margin by which the union lost, the National Labor Relations Board will hold a hearing in several weeks on the contested ballots that could change the result of the election.


A high-profile union drive led by the RWDSU at the facility in Alabama failed last year, representing a big blow to a broader campaign to organize Amazon workers.

The drive was the closest Amazon workers anywhere in the U.S. had come to forming a union. Organizers alleged the company had illegally interfered with the vote, leading the federal labor board to investigate and order a new election in November.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Organizing efforts continue in other parts of the country, with the union making more headway at another warehouse vote. At a facility in Staten Island where workers are voting on a union, pro-union votes led the count by the end of the day Thursday. Results of the vote are expected Friday morning.

Amazon workers at a third warehouse known as LDJ5, also on Staten Island, will vote on whether to form a union next month; they will cast their ballots beginning April 25.

The count in the Alabama revote was far closer than in the first round last year. Then, Amazon held a sweeping win with workers rejecting a union by more than 2 to 1. Voter turnout in Alabama decreased from last year, according to a Times analysis of the data. About 38% of the 6,153 workers eligible to receive mail ballots cast votes, down from more than 50% in 2021.

The result of the revote will not be certified until the board processes any objections filed by Amazon or the union contesting the election in the coming days, NLRB spokesperson Kayla Blado said in a statement.

Unfair labor practice charges have been filed in this case, the NLRB said, and a regional office of the board is investigating the charges to determine whether they have merit.


Stuart Appelbaum, president of the RWDSU, said the union will be filing objections to Amazon’s behavior and will push for challenged ballots to be opened and counted.

“Every vote must be counted,” Appelbaum said in a statement. “Workers at Amazon endured a needlessly long and aggressive fight to unionize their workplace, with Amazon doing everything it could to spread misinformation and deceit. We will hold Amazon accountable.”