Thought we were done with landmark elections for a while? Not so fast.
The future of Amazon’s business model is at stake when close to 6,000 Alabama warehouse workers have their ballots counted on the subject of unionizing.
The voting ends on Monday and the count begins this week. The results may mean Amazon’s first unionized warehouse in the U.S. while wielding heavy influence on the country.
“It may be the most important union vote in decades,” Lynne Vincent, an assistant professor of management at Syracuse University’s Whitman School, told Business Insider. “It represents the conversation in our nation regarding economic and racial disparities that are embedded in our systems and structure and how power is distributed.”
If successful, the Bessemer, Ala., workers will join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) starting in early February.
The RWDSU said this is “the most important labor struggle in more than half a century.” It began in November with roughly 2,500-3,000 workers signing a petition.
“If they are able to win a union for themselves in such a broken system, then I think that is so encouraging to other Amazon warehouse workers, but also workers across other industries and at other retailers,” Celine McNicholas, director of government affairs at the Economic Policy Institute, told Insider.
Pro-union endorsements on the push have come from President Biden, Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, actor Danny Glover, NFL players and more.
Amazon has pushed back with lengthy mandatory “information sessions,” inundating the warehouse with messages and arguing the union was not necessary.
“We don’t believe the RWDSU represents the majority of our employees’ views,” Amazon has said in its statements. “Our employees choose to work at Amazon because we offer some of the best jobs available everywhere we hire.”