Amazon executive Dave Clark lobbied for mailbox in Alabama union election

Dave Clark, executive director of Amazon’s global consumer business and a senior deputy to Jeff Bezos, supported an effort to install a mailbox at an Alabama warehouse site during a recent high-stakes union election, according to documents filed Monday during a labor board hearing. .

The National Labor Relations Board began holding hearings last week to review objections to a failed unionization drive that ended last month at Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. Bessemer employees overwhelmingly rejected unionization, with less than 30% of the vote in favor of joining the Union of Retailers, Wholesalers and Large Stores.

The installation of a mailbox outside of Bessemer’s premises has emerged as a key detail in the RWDSU’s argument that the NLRB should discard the election results. Amazon has claimed that it installed the mailbox to make voting easier for employees, while the union alleges that the mailbox may have created the impression of surveillance and sown confusion among employees by suggesting that the company was involved in collecting and counting votes. .

On Monday, the RWDSU released emails during the hearing that showed Amazon pressured the US Postal Service to install the mailbox outside of the warehouse.

“Please let me know where we stand on this – this is a highly visible Dave Clark initiative,” Becky Moore, Amazon’s senior manager of procurement and transportation strategy, wrote in an email to USPS officials in January. “I am pleased to set a time to discuss tomorrow if necessary, but we would like to understand the schedule ahead of us so we can report back to leadership.”

Jay Smith, director of business accounts for the USPS, testified during the hearing that he never spoke directly to Clark.

In separate emails submitted by RWDSU, Brian Palmer, senior manager of Amazon’s last mile public policy team in Washington, DC, asked Smith if the company could place a “vote here” sticker over the outgoing mail slot. from the mailbox. Smith testified during the hearing that he told Amazon that they couldn’t do that.

Smith was later asked about a tent that was set up around the mailbox with a sign that read “Speak for yourself! Send your ballot here ”. Smith testified that he learned from images published in The Washington Post that Amazon had pitched a tent around the mailbox.

“I was surprised because they asked me, ‘Can you put something physical in the box?’” Smith said. “I said no. I didn’t want to see anything else around that box that would indicate that it was a vote. “

The testimony comes after Bessemer employee Kevin Jackson testified last week that he saw Amazon security guards open the mailbox, which was only supposed to be accessible by the USPS. An Amazon spokesperson told Bloomberg that it did not have access to outgoing mail and denied any wrongdoing.

The NLRB will review the union’s objections to the election and consider whether they are grounds for overriding the results. The agency could order a new hearing to be held at the facility. Either party can appeal the regional director’s ruling to the NLRB board in Washington.

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