Outcome of Amazon union vote may be swayed by ineligible ex-employees: Report
Over a dozen former employees received ballots
The outcome of the biggest union push in Amazon's history could be swayed by former employees, according to a new report.
Employees at the Bessemer, Alabama, facility have until March 29 to mail in their decision on whether or not to form a union to represent the full- and part-time workers at the fulfillment center, according to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).
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However, in recent weeks, at least 19 former employees have received a ballot for the election despite no longer working for the e-commerce giant, according to Reuters, which spoke to the employees, who weren't named.
At least two of them have reportedly returned ballots with their vote, threatening the election results.
Representatives for Amazon have not immediately responded to FOX Business' request for comment.
The labor board sent out the ballots at the beginning of February to a list of individuals provided by Amazon, according to Reuters. The list was reportedly based on the Jan. 9 payroll period.
According to the labor board's notice of election, however, "employees who have quit or been discharged for cause since the designated payroll period and who have not been rehired or reinstated prior to the date of this election are not eligible to vote."
The notice also explains that only a "majority of the valid ballots cast will determine the results of the election."
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Furthermore, such ballots can also be contested when it comes time to count the votes.
"An agent of the board or an authorized observer may question the eligibility of a voter. Such challenge must be made at the time the ballots are counted," the notice of election reads.
Earlier this year, Amazon sought unsuccessfully to delay the vote and to require in-person voting. According to the company, an in-person election was the best "approach to a valid, fair and successful election."
However, the board deemed that mail-in ballots were the "safest and most appropriate method of conducting an election in view of the extraordinary circumstances presented by the COVID-19 pandemic," officials wrote in a notice.
The employees are seeking to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. A majority of the 6,000 employees have to vote “yes” in order to unionize. It is the biggest unionization push at the company since it was founded in 1995, carrying high stakes for the second-largest employer in the country, which has a record of crushing unionizing efforts at its warehouses and its Whole Foods grocery stores.
Although Amazon has said it respects the decision to hold a vote, officials said the warehouse has created thousands of full-time jobs in Bessemer since opening in March and that the average pay is $15.30 per hour, including full health care, vision and dental insurance.
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“We respect our employees’ right to join or not join a labor union but we don’t believe this group represents the majority of our employees’ views,” Amazon spokeswoman Heather Knox said earlier this year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.