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Amazon to Face First U.S. Unionization Vote in Seven Years Next Month

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SEATTLE — Amazon will face its first union vote on U.S. soil in seven years on Feb. 8, when ballots will be mailed to warehouse workers in Bessemer, Ala., for an election that could emerge as a major labor battle at one of the country’s largest employers.

A National Labor Relations Board hearing officer ruled Friday that roughly 6,000 workers at the facility will have seven weeks to cast their ballots to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. The decision granted the union’s request to hold the balloting entirely by mail, over the objections of Amazon, which wanted in-person voting.

The vote alone is a massive turn at a company that has long opposed the unionization of its U.S. workforce. Now, Amazon and the union will likely engage in a pitched battle to win over the workforce at a warehouse that opened only last spring.

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