The union, seeking to represent workers at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, said late Wednesday that there are 3,215 ballots – or about 55 percent of the nearly 5,800 workers eligible to vote.
Votes are counted by hand at the National Labor Relations Board’s office in Birmingham starting on Thursday afternoon or Friday morning, according to the Retail Wholesale and Departmental Stores Union. The union said hundreds of ballots are being contested.
The counting of votes will be shown on videoconferencing calls to a small number of outsiders, including representatives of the union and the company, as well as journalists.
Union elections are usually held in person, but the Labor Board determined that the election should be conducted by mail to minimize the risk during an epidemic. Ballots were sent to workers in early February and were in the agency before March 30. Since then, Amazon and the union have had a chance to challenge whether special workers were eligible to vote.
When a public count is made, the agency will announce formal results if the winning margin for one party exceeds the number of ballots contested.
If the margin is narrow, it may take two to three weeks for the NLRB to be trimmed through the ballot papers involved in the election, and proof from both sides of whether they should be counted.