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Amazon loses effort to install a camera to watch the counting of ballots in pivotal union vote

Amazon loses effort to install a camera to watch the counting of ballots

March 30, 2021:-On Monday, the National Labour Relations Board rejected Amazon’s request to install a video camera to look after the boxes containing thousands of ballots key to a high-stakes union Alabama election.

The closely-watched union election in Bessemer, Alabama, concluded on Monday. Around 5,800 workers at the Bessemer facility were eligible to vote to join the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

According to an NLRB order, Amazon wanted to place a video camera in the NLRB’s Birmingham office to tabulate the votes and to look after the ballot boxes in the off hours between counting denying Amazon’s request. The camera feed would have been accessible by both Amazon and the RWDSU.

“Though the mail ballot election in this matter is large, it is not, as the Employer asserts, of a ‘special nature,'” Lisa Henderson, acting regional director for the NLRB, said.

Amazon asked that the NLRB change the security locks to the storage room’s door where the ballots will be held, provide Amazon and the RWDSU with an electronic or physical log of when the storage room door is opened in the counting process and use tamper-proof tape on the ballot boxes or storage room door to “ensure no unauthorized access to the envelopes, ballot boxes occurs,” according to the motion.

The motion is just the recent example of how contentious the union election in Alabama has become. Amazon hadn’t faced a union drive this rigorous since 2014 when repair technicians at a Delaware warehouse were not successful in garnering enough votes to form a union.

If successful, workers in Alabama would establish the first-ever labour union representation at a U.S. Amazon facility. The campaign got support from onlookers in the U.S. and overseas, that include Joe Biden, issuing a highly valuable endorsement for the union drive this month.

Amazon staunchly opposed the union, previously sought to delay the Alabama union drive. It could not convince the NLRB to hold an in-person election, arguing that a mail-in ballot format risked depressing turnout and increased fraud potential.

Even though the seven-week mail-in voting period is complete, both Amazon and the RWDSU likely face a long road ahead in the campaign.

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