Amazon had keys to USPS mailbox used for union ballots: Report | Science and Technology News

The mailbox, located near the entrance to Amazon’s facilities, became key evidence in a union attempt to overturn the election results.

Through Bloomberg

Security guards at an Inc. warehouse in Alabama had keys to a mailbox the company encouraged employees to use to send out their ballots in a high-profile union election earlier this year, a worker said at a National Labor Relations Board hearing on Friday.

Kevin Jackson, who has worked at the Bessemer warehouse for more than a year, said he saw two guards approach the mailbox and use keys to open one of its doors. The mailbox, located near the entrance to the Amazon facility, became key evidence in a union attempt to overturn the election results.

In an April 16 complaint, the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union accused Amazon of misconduct – including issuing anti-union threats, firing an employee for distributing union cards, and pressuring workers to use the union. mailbox to vote.

The mailbox was provided by the U.S. Postal Service at Amazon’s request, and union officials accused the company of installing the box to keep tabs on the workers’ vote. Federal law restricts the monitoring of union election activities of employees. The union also alleges that installing the mailbox gave the impression that Amazon “controls the mechanics of the election,” according to an April 30 order from the acting regional director of the labor relations board.

Amazon has consistently denied an ulterior motive to request the mailbox, saying it was set up to help ensure high turnout. “This mailbox – to which only the USPS had access – was a simple, secure, and completely optional way to make it easy for employees to vote, no more and no less,” the company said in a statement last month.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Jackson’s claim.

The “cluster” letterbox has several doors with locks. Jackson said on leaving work one morning, he saw security guards approaching the box, after which one of them used a key to open a large box at the bottom labeled “1P”. “What he was going out or looking for, I’m not sure,” he said.

Amazon employees voted 1,798 to 738 against joining the union in a seven-week postal election that ended in March. The Labor Relations Board has the power to invalidate the election results in response to conduct that could have changed the result and prevented employees from freely choosing to unionize.

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