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Hearing begins to decide possible third union election at Amazon's Bessemer warehouse

An Amazon warehouse that labor is trying to organize is shown in Bessemer, Ala., Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Union representatives are pushing for some 6,000 Amazon workers to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union on the promise it will lead to better working conditions, better pay and more respect. Amazon is pushing back, arguing that it already offers more than twice the minimum wage in Alabama and workers get such benefits as health care, vision and dental insurance without paying union dues. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)
Jay Reeves/AP
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AP
An Amazon warehouse that labor is trying to organize is shown in Bessemer, Ala., Tuesday, March 30, 2021. Union representatives are pushing for some 6,000 Amazon workers to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union on the promise it will lead to better working conditions, better pay and more respect. Amazon is pushing back, arguing that it already offers more than twice the minimum wage in Alabama and workers get such benefits as health care, vision and dental insurance without paying union dues. (AP Photo/Jay Reeves)

A monthslong hearing is beginning on Thursday, April 25 to decide the future of the unionization campaign at Amazon's Bessemer warehouse. The results could reportedly decide if workers will have an opportunity to hold a third union election to join the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) says an administrative law judge will review the union's conduct along with Amazon's conduct in the last election, which has remained too close to call since 2022.

In a press statement to Alabama Public Radio, the NLRB stated the 311 ballots still uncounted from that election will be reviewed. The board also reports both the RWDSU and Amazon have filed other objections to the vote, accusing each other of breaking rules, which the judge will also consider.

The 2022 election came after the results of the first union election at the Bessemer facility in 2021, where workers voted against forming a union. The later election was seen as a do-over election as the (RWDSU) looked for a different outcome.

However, the 2021 results were set aside due to employer interference with the election. U.S. labor officials ruled that Amazon improperly influenced the vote, particularly by placing a mailbox for ballots in an Amazon-branded tent in a surveilled parking lot, according to NPR.

In a press statement to Alabama Public Radio, the National Labor Relations Board sent the following expected timeline:

  • The hearing will resume on Monday, April 29. Witness testimony will begin at 9:30am on Monday, April 29 in Birmingham and will continue Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
  • May 13 to May 17: Witness testimony will resume at 9:30am on Monday, May 13 and will continue for the entire week.
  • July 8 to July 12: Witness testimony will resume at 9:30am on Monday, July 8 and will continue for the entire week, if necessary.

Read more about the hearing, which could decide the fate of the unionization campaign at the Bessemer facility, by clicking here.

Baillee Majors is the Morning Edition host and a reporter at Alabama Public Radio.
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