Amazon, which is hostile to workers who try to organize protests and unions, is recruiting “intelligence analysts” to track “labor organizing threats” in the company.
Two recent Amazon job listings said the company is looking to hire an “Intelligence Analyst” and a “Sr Intelligence Analyst” for its intelligence program. That’s the team responsible for physical and corporate security such as insider threats and industrial espionage, Vice reported.
One of the ads focused particularly on “organized labor”, mentioning it three times. Other listed threats include protests, geopolitical crises and conflicts impacting operations.
In March, the e-commerce giant fired Chris Smalls, a 31-year-old management assistant, after he organized a walkout over the lack of protection against covid-19 at a facility in Staten Island, New York. Smalls and other workers demanded that Amazon temporarily close and clean the facility after a worker tested positive for the virus.
“They pretty much retaliated against me for speaking out,” said Smalls. “I don’t know how they sleep at night.”
Leaked notes obtained by Vice News reveal that Amazon executives talked about a plan to smear Smalls, describing him as “not smart or articulate” — part of a PR strategy to make him “the face of the entire union/organizing movement.”
The job listings show Amazon sees labor organizing as one of the biggest threats to its existence, Vice reported.
Dania Rajendra, director of the Athena Coalition — an alliance of dozens of grassroots labor groups that organize Amazon workers — criticized the ads.
“Workers, especially Black workers, have been telling us all for months that Amazon is targeting them for speaking out,” Rajendra said. “This job description is proof that Amazon intends to continue on this course.”
Amazon’s employee surveillance efforts were the topic of a report published by the Open Markets Institute, a nonprofit that studies monopolies. The institute is funded in part by the Open Society Foundations, George Soros‘ philanthropic group.
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Amazon’s practices “create a harsh and dehumanizing working environment that produces a constant state of fear, as well as physical and mental anguish,” Open Markets said.
“Surveillance enables Amazon to deter workers from unionizing,” the report said. It means workers “can be terminated at any time for deviating from metrics they don’t even know exist, and leads to other dominant firms adopting similar practices.”
One of the Amazon ads has been active since January, Vice reported.
Amazon is known for using aggressive tactics against workers trying to organize or protest. It hasn’t only fired workers who led strikes. It fired workers for tweeting criticism of the company and it used heat maps to track pro-union sentiment in Whole Food stores, The Verge reported.
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