Amazon employees say company had access to warehouse ballots in Alabama. What happens now?

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaUpdated: May 16, 2021, 03:24 PM IST

File photo of an Amazon office. Photograph:(AFP)

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The mailbox was supposed to be accessible only to the US postal service. Now many believe such invasion could prompt the National Labor Relations Board to change the results

Recent reports suggest that Amazon had access to the ballots from the recent union elections which worked out in favour of the company and had the potential to alter the future of workers rights in Amazon warehouses across the world.

Amazon employee Kevin Jackson told National Labour Relations Board that security guards at the Alabama warehouse had access to keys of the mailbox containing ballots of the high-profile union election held earlier this year.

Jackson added that while he was finishing up a night shift, he saw the guards going through the opened mailbox for "a minute or two" as though looking for something. 

If true, this directly breaches the legality imbued in the elections, for only the US Postal Service had the right to open the ballots. Now, many believe such invasion could prompt the National Labor Relations Board to overturn the results. 

The mailbox was installed by US Postal Services at Amazon's request. Now, workers have accused the company of spying over them. They found Amazon's interference illegal as law restricts the surveillance of employees’ union election activities. 

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

Amazon has constantly refused the allegations saying, "This mailbox — which only the USPS had access to — was a simple, secure, and completely optional way to make it easy for employees to vote, no more and no less." However, Jackson's testimony contradicted Amazon's assertion. 

Out of 1798 who voted, 738 Amazon employees cast votes against the union with 505 other disputed ballots uncounted. The labour board holds the power of rejecting the polls if this could have altered the outcome and prevented employees from their choice to unionise.