The union, which plans to represent workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, announced late Wednesday that 3,215 ballots had been cast – or about 55 percent of the roughly 5,800 workers eligible to vote.
Ballot papers are expected to be counted by hand in the National Labor Relations Board office in Birmingham starting Thursday afternoon or Friday morning, according to the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union. Hundreds of ballots are being challenged, mostly from Amazon, the union said.
The vote count is shown in a video conference call to a small number of outsiders, including journalists, as well as to representatives of the union and the company.
Union elections are usually held in person, but the Labor Authority decided that the elections should be done by mail in order to minimize the risks during the pandemic. The ballot papers were mailed to workers in early February and were due at the agency before March 30th. Since then, Amazon and the union have had the opportunity to check whether certain workers were eligible to vote.
When the public census is complete, the agency will announce the formal results if the profit margin for one side is greater than the number of controversial ballots.
If the margin is tighter, it may take two to three weeks for the NLRB to hold a hearing to sort through the contested ballots and obtain evidence from both sides as to whether they should be counted.