Amazon Union Vote Count in Bessemer Marks Industry Milestone

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Professor James Brudney was quoted in WWD, sharing his expert opinion on Amazon’s vote on unionization.

The public portion of the vote count for whether the U.S. will see its first Amazon union has begun.
Last summer, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic and the persisting racial injustices against Black Americans, Bessemer, Ala. became host to a historic call to unionize one Amazon fulfillment center. Since then, the closely watched organizing drive has drawn international attention to the year-old facility called BHM1, where roughly 85 percent of the workers are Black, according to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which the workers are seeking to organize with.
The National Labor Relations Board, which administers the election, began tabulating the ballots after voting concluded in March. There were some 3,215 ballots cast among the roughly 5,800 workers in the unit, according to a statement Wednesday by the RWDSU. Thursday’s tally, which in a fairly unusual move was being broadcast publicly, involved individually counting each “yes” and “no” vote.
“There is value, not only for the public watching, but for workers around the country, to see how the [NLRB] functions and how the results are counted,” said James Brudney, labor and employment law professor at the Fordham University School of Law, and former chief counsel of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Labor.
“This is a democratic election process,” he said. “To the extent that other workers may be learning about how the labor board and labor act work, that’s important in educational terms, and will be, pretty much regardless of the result.”

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