Two Amazon security guards unlocked a mailbox that was used to hold mail-in ballots for a unionization election, a worker told a hearing on Friday.
Kevin Jackson, who works at an Amazon facility in Bessemer, Alabama, said he witnessed the guards go to the mailbox and use keys to open one of its doors, Bloomberg reported.
Jackson was speaking during ongoing hearings on post-election objections. The attempt to unionize workers at the warehouse failed last month. But the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union asked the National Labor Relations Board to hold hearings to address what it described as a tainted election.
The board ordered the election to take place via mail because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A mailbox was installed by the U.S. Postal Service on Amazon property at the request of the company, which opposed the unionization effort, for workers to mail the ballots to the board.
The union alleged in a motion that “it is highly prejudicial for the Board to allow a process that creates the impression that the Employer, not the Board, controls the mechanics of the election, and argues that the installation of the mailbox was objectional because it created such an impression,” according to a board document.
The union said that employees were asked if they had voted and how they voted and were told to use the mailbox, which was in front of the building, to vote.
Jackson testified that he was departing work one day when he saw the guards go to the box before one of them used a key to open a part on the bottom.
“What he was getting out or looking for, I’m not sure,” he said.
Amazon told news outlets in a statement that its access was restricted to the portion of the box where incoming mail was held.
“Similar to any other mailbox that serves businesses, we had access only to the incoming mailbox where we received mail addressed to the building,” a spokesperson said. “The facts will become clear when we have a chance to present them next week.”
Amazon told the board that the union failed to specify how a USPS mailbox is objectionable in a mail-ballot election.
Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.), who supported the unionization effort, said that the testimony showed Amazon was caught “red-handed” interfering with the vote.
“This damning eyewitness testimony comes as no surprise. But the worker’s riveting account of a supervisor asking him ‘off the record’ (right!) whether he was for the union is just as important,” he said in a social media statement.
Wilma Liebman, chair of the labor relations board during the Obama administration, told Bloomberg that Jackson’s testimony, if found credible, would likely be enough on its own to overturn the election result.
“What legitimate purpose could there possibly be for Amazon security guards to be opening the box?” she said.
The post-election hearings started on May 7. They are being held every day, including weekends, until May 28, a board spokesperson told The Epoch Times in an email.