Amazon Union Supporters Will Need More Votes to Pass Proposal
A worker collects an Amazon Prime customer order package from a conveyor in Germany. (Photographer: Thorsten Wagner/Bloomberg)

Amazon Union Supporters Will Need More Votes to Pass Proposal

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Amazon.com Inc. and a union hoping to represent some of its employees at an Alabama warehouse reached an agreement to include 769 seasonal workers in a potential bargaining unit, meaning backers of the proposal will need to rally more voters to win the required majority.

Lawyers for Amazon and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union told representatives of the National Labor Relations Board during a virtual hearing on Monday that the holiday-season hires should be included in a proposed bargaining unit at the Bessemer, Alabama, facility, as Amazon had proposed last week.

Several other disputes must be resolved before a vote, including whether roughly 180 other employees -- primarily workers temporarily promoted for the holiday season -- should be included in the unit and whether a vote should take place in person in an Alabama county that, like most of the U.S., is experiencing a surge in Covid-19 cases.

The RWDSU filed paperwork in November to represent a unit of 1,500 frontline workers at Amazon, whose U.S. warehouse workers aren’t unionized. In response, Amazon said more than 5,700 people should be covered by the bargaining unit and that the larger figure made it unlikely the union had gathered signatures from the 30% of employees necessary to force a federally overseen unionization vote. The NLRB last week said the union had likely met that threshold, clearing the way for the parties to debate the size of the unit, and timing and manner of a vote.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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