People protest in support of union efforts for Alabama Amazon workers, in Los Angeles, California, March 22, 2021.

Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

More than 3,200 ballot papers were cast in one of the high-stakes union elections Amazon Alabama warehouses, according to the Retail, Wholesale and Store Association.

The election was open to more than 5,800 Amazon warehouse employees at Besimer, Alabama, who are voting to join RWDSU. With a total of 3,215 ballots cast, this resulted in a turnout rate of around 55%, higher than RWDSU initially estimated.

Workers had until March 29 to present ballot papers in the mail. Vote counting began last week via a special video conference, chaired by NLRB, where Amazon and the union could compete for ballot papers based on factors such as an illegible signature or whether a person’s job classification qualifies them to vote.

RWDSU said the public part of the vote count is expected to begin as soon as Thursday or Friday morning.

Hundreds of ballot papers have been contested, mostly by Amazon, according to RWDSU. If the winning margin ends up being less than the total number of contested ballots, the final count will be paused until those challenges are resolved by an NLRB hearing. Any accepted ballot papers will then be added to the count.

It could still be there More legal challenges in the storeAs Amazon or Etihad has the opportunity to challenge the election results, which could further delay the outcome.

The election at Bessemer has become a closely watched event inside and outside Amazon as it will establish its first consortium in one of the e-commerce giant’s warehouse in the United States.

Bessemer’s pro-union employees raised a number of issues about the fast pace of work, lack of adequate rest time and other grievances. However, Amazon assured that it does not need a union between itself and its workers.

Representatives from Amazon and NLRB did not immediately respond to a request for comment.