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High Stakes At A Warehouse: Amazon Fights Against Alabama Union Drive

Jennifer Bates often finds peace by drinking tea on her patio. But these days, to use her words — the butterflies have filled up her stomach and won’t go away.

“Butterflies normally come to calm me,” Bates says. “But this is … nerve-racking to think I don’t know how it’s gonna go.”

What’s unsettling Bates is the ongoing union vote at the Amazon warehouse, where she works. Some 5,800 workers in Bessemer, Ala., are casting their ballots to decide whether to form the company’s first warehouse union in America. The election — which ends on March 29 — has the facility, the community, labor groups and the company all on the edge of their seats.

The Bessemer vote has prompted more than 1,000 Amazon workers in other cities to reach out to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, the group says. Other unions are reporting spikes in inquiries as well.