- Amazon reportedly instructed workers to cast their union election ballots at a new USPS mailbox.
- The mailbox recently appeared at an Alabama warehouse where about 6,000 workers are voting.
- Some workers say they feel like Amazon is watching them, Vice reported.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
Amazon mail-blasted Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse workers and, in a pamphlet, instructed them to “Vote NO” on a historic union election currently underway, according to a report from Vice’s Motherboard.
Amazon also reportedly sent text messages to the warehouse’s approximately 6,000 workers telling them to place their ballots in a US Postal Service mailbox that has recently appeared near the main entrance to their Bessemer plant. According to Motherboard, which viewed both the text message and the pamphlet, Amazon advised employees to vote by March 1, but workers have until March 29 to cast their ballots.
The pamphlet bears Amazon branding and also includes anti-union messaging, like urging employees to “save almost $US500 ($632)/year in dues,” a reference to union dues, as well as warning workers that unions can’t deliver increased job security or better wages.
One worker told Motherboard that she feels as though Amazon is telling them to vote at the mailbox so higher-ups “can monitor us and gauge how many people are using” it.
Amazon spokesperson Heather Knox told Insider that the mailbox was recently installed by the USPS at the Bessemer warehouse “for the convenience of our employees.”
“As we have said all along, every employee should have the opportunity to vote in this important decision,” Knox told Insider. “This mailbox is enclosed in a tent making it convenient, safe, and private for our employees to vote on their way to and from work if they choose to, or use it for any of their other mailing needs.”
She also said the USPS is the only entity that can access the mailbox’s contents. The USPS did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Another Bessemer Amazon worker told Motherboard, “I want to know: if this mailbox isn’t about the union election, then why wasn’t it there before?”
The Alabama warehouse workers are voting on a union that would be the first in Amazon’s history. Employees received their ballots on February 8 for the election, which will be conducted by mail due to the pandemic. Amazon which was pushing for an in-person election.
Amazon has a long history of firmly pushing back on employees’ efforts to unionize.
The company listed and quickly removed a job opening in 2020 for an analyst that would monitor worker activities around organizing. Amazon has also used a tool to monitor dozens of public and private social media groups to find workers that were organizing protests or strikes. And in November, news surfaced that Amazon had at one point hired detectives with the infamous Pinkerton spy agency to monitor European workers’ labor union organizing efforts.
Amazon’s track record of blocking unionizing continued with the election in Alabama. The company posted anti-union messaging asking “Where will your dues go?” in the bathrooms of the Bessemer warehouse, according to the Washington Post.
Amazon’s own investors even reportedly urged the company to stop interfering with the Alabama workers’ unionization vote.
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