Amazon consumer business CEO Dave Clark was behind efforts to ask the U.S. Postal Service to install a special temporary ballot mailbox outside the company’s Bessemer, AL fulfillment center where a union vote was taking place, numerous outlets have reported.
“Please let me know where we stand on this – this is a highly visible Dave Clark initiative,” said Amazon senior manager Becky Moore in a January email to USPS officials, which was shared at a National Labor Relations Board hearing Monday, Bloomberg reported. Amazon did not comment on the story.
At the hearing, Jay Smith, a USPS official in charge of managing Amazon’s account, told the NLRB the installation of the mailbox was the first time he knew of that the agency had done so on behalf of a private company, according to Bloomberg.
The outlet reported that photos of the mailbox showed it had been modified by the USPS to accommodate more outgoing ballots, meaning it could have been accessed by someone using an adjacent incoming mailbox. Amazon employee Kevin Jackson testified last week he saw the company’s security guards use keys to access the outgoing mail slot, a claim Amazon denied.
The NLRB hearing is taking place because the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union is challenging the union vote result, which was largely against organizing, claiming Amazon violated labor laws during its anti-union campaign. The hearing will determine if that was the case, and whether a new vote should be ordered.
The Bessemer campaign and vote has been one of the most closely watched union certification campaigns in years, because of the serious ramifications throughout the retail logistics and fulfillment industry should workers at the Amazon facility decide to organize.
Less than 30% of the eligible workers at the Bessemer FC voted for the union, handing Amazon a major victory against organized labor. Those voting no cited concerns about job security, union dues and the two-year-old facility being shut down by Amazon if it became a union shop. The result was immediately challenged by the retail workers’ union.