Amazon.com Inc. workers at a giant warehouse in Alabama voted decisively against forming a union on Friday, squashing the most significant labor drive in the internet giant’s history, The New York Times reported.
Workers cast 1,798 votes against a union, giving Amazon enough to emphatically defeat the effort. Ballots in favor of a union trailed at 738, less than 30% of the votes tallied, according to federal officials.
The lopsided outcome at the 6,000-person warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., dealt a crushing blow to labor organizers, Democrats and their allies at a time when conditions have been ripe for unions to make advances.
Amazon, which has repeatedly quashed labor activism, had appeared vulnerable as President Biden signaled support for the union effort, as did Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent. The pandemic, which drove millions of people to shop online, also spotlighted the plight of essential workers and raised questions about Amazon’s ability to keep those employees safe.
The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which led the drive, blamed its defeat on what it said were Amazon’s anti-union tactics before and during the voting. The union said it would challenge the election results and ask federal labor officials to investigate Amazon for creating an “atmosphere of confusion, coercion and/or fear of reprisals.”
Amazon said in a statement that “the union will say that Amazon won this election because we intimidated employees, but that’s not true.” It added, “Amazon didn’t win — our employees made the choice to vote against joining a union.”
About half of the 5,805 eligible voters at the warehouse cast ballots in the election. A majority of votes, or 1,521, was needed to win. About 500 ballots were contested, largely by Amazon, the union said. Those ballots were not counted.
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