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With about 80% of ballots counted, some 71% of Bessemer, Ala., Amazon Warehouse Workers Reject Joining the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union

The National Labor Relations Board has finished counting all votes that weren’t challenged by either side, and the number of votes against a union exceeds 1,608, the total needed to reach a majority of the 3,215 mail-in ballots workers submitted. The NLRB hasn’t declared an official winner.

The Bessemer facility employs fewer than 1% of the roughly 950,000 Amazon employees in the U.S., but the vote emerged as a watershed moment for a company that hired faster than almost any private corporation in history last year.

Amazon has long opposed labor organizing and told its workers in Alabama that unionizing isn’t necessary, saying it pays double the state’s minimum wage of $7.25 an hour, which is also the federal minimum. The company warned of the cost of union dues and highlighted what it says are the generous healthcare benefits it offers employees.

“A lot of us are in agreement that we don’t need anybody there to speak for us and take our money,” said Cori Jennings, 40 years old, who works at the Bessemer facility and voted against unionizing. Ms. Jennings said she and many of her colleagues were also eager for the national attention to fade: “We want our lives to go back to normal.”

Amazon Full- and Part-Time Jobs

Congratulations to Alabama workers and Amazon for the vote. 

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Why I Hate Unions

For a discussion of issues on public and private unions please see my take Why I Hate Unions