- Amazon pushed for USPS to install mailboxes at its warehouse based on emails received by the union.
- Mailboxes can be seen as a tactic to deter workers from voting to unite.
- Unions can contend for overturning negative voting results by referring to e-mails.
- You can find more stories on our Business Insider page.
Amazon pushes the U.S. Postal Service to install mailboxes outside of Bessemer, Alabama, a warehouse based on emails received from a Freedom of Information Act request by the union and first reported by The Washington Post.
Over the past seven weeks, employees have voted on whether to form the first Amazon union in the United States. The emails may influence union votes at warehouses after they were received by the Retail, Retail and Department Store (RWDSU), posted a report.
The group works to represent nearly 6,000 Amazon employees at the Alabama site in a historic joint battle that could be a model for other companies.
More than 3,000 workers threw ballots, according to unions, and hundreds more were challenged by Amazon, most of them.The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) began publicly counting the votes Thursday.
The union has made complaints about mailboxes in the past because the mailbox was set up in February shortly before the beginning of the mailing process at the warehouse.
When setting up a mailbox, Amazon destroyed the workers with emails and messages telling them to “not vote”; and put their ballots in their on-site inboxes, Vice’s Motherboard reported.
At the time, the union said the inbox might make it seem like Amazon would see ballot papers directly, a move that prevents employees from voting.
Prior to the installation of the mailbox, the NLRB rejected the company’s request for self-voting at the warehouse. But the organization chose to allow workers to vote by mail only.
The Washington Post reports that if the union loses the e-mail voting, which suggests Amazon tells the USPS to bring up the inbox as soon as possible – it could be used to challenge the voting results, as it could be seen as a tactic. Prevent workers from voting
“We said from the beginning we wanted all employees to vote and offered a range of options to try and make it easier,” an Amazon spokesperson told Insider. There is an email-only election, where NLRB’s own data shows this will reduce the amount of merchandise in this mailbox that only the USPS has access to – a simple, secure, and completely optional solution. It’s easy for employees to vote too little or too little. ”
“The installed box – Centralized Box Unit (CBU) with storage compartment – is recommended by the postal service as an efficient and secure shipping and pickup solution,” a USPS spokesperson told Insider.
RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum told The Washington Post that the email showed Amazon felt “above the law”.
“They do this because it provides a clear ability to intimidate workers,” Appelbaum said.
In the past, Amazon had opposed consolidation at its warehouse, using tactics such as posting anti-union badges at warehouses and holding meetings designed to convince workers to vote against the union.