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Amazon and RWDSU battle again in Bessemer

After a crushing defeat last year, when a majority of workers voted against forming a union, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union is hoping for a different outcome in a do-over election. The National Labor Relations Board on Monday began counting mail-in ballots that were sent to 6,100 workers in early February. Results could come as early as Thursday.

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If the vote goes in favor of the RWDSU, it would be Amazon’s first one ever in the U.S.

Like last time, the RWDSU is driving the union campaign against Amazon in Bessemer. Vaccines have made it easier for organizers to do face-to-face meetings during the pandemic as opposed to the texts, emails and phone calls they relied on the first time around.

“It’s been easier to spread the message this time, and we’ve had more support inside the building,” said Dale Wyatt, an Amazon worker at the Bessemer facility who’s assisting in the union push. “For example, more people are wearing T-shirts and pins and apparel, and more people are willing to come up and talk to us this time.”

Amazon has had a chance to regroup as well after the NLRB determined that the company unfairly influenced last year’s election. The country’s second-largest private employer continues to hammer the message that it invests in both pay and benefits for its workers. Regular full-time employees in Bessemer earn at least $15.80 an hour, higher than the estimated $14.55 per hour on average in the city based on an analysis of the U.S. Census Bureau. They also get health care as well as a 401(k) with company match.

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Amazon has also made some changes to but still kept a controversial U.S. Postal Service mailbox that was key in the NLRB’s decision to invalidate last year’s vote.

Amazon, union organizers face off again in Alabama  The Associated Press

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