“This seems totally illegal”: Amazon may ban union terms like “pay raise” in internal messages

On the heels of a significant organizing win for Amazon employees in New York Metropolis final week, “The Intercept” revealed Monday that the e-commerce large is contemplating a ban on numerous union-related phrases for a deliberate inside messaging utility.

“In November 2021, Amazon convened a high-level assembly wherein prime executives mentioned plans to create an inside social media program that will let staff acknowledge co-workers’ efficiency with posts known as ‘Shout-Outs,'” in keeping with journalist Ken Klipperstein.

Klipperstein reported that some Amazon officers expressed considerations about controlling what’s shared on the platform, for which a pilot program is slated to launch later this month.

“With free textual content, we danger folks writing Shout-Outs that generate damaging sentiments among the many viewers and the receivers,” says an inside doc reviewed by “The Intercept”. “We need to lean in direction of being restrictive on the content material that may be posted to forestall a damaging affiliate expertise.”

Along with profanity, the checklist of phrases that will be routinely blocked on the corporate app reportedly consists of: bullying, variety, ethics, fireplace, grievance, dwelling wage, pay elevate, plantation, restrooms, robots, slave labor, and union.

The corporate pushed backed: “Our groups are at all times enthusiastic about new methods to assist staff interact with one another,” Amazon spokesperson Barbara M. Agrait informed the outlet. “This specific program has not been authorised but and will change considerably and even by no means launch in any respect.”

“If it does launch in some unspecified time in the future down the street,” the spokesperson added, “there are not any plans for lots of the phrases you are calling out to be screened. The one sorts of phrases which may be screened are ones which might be offensive or harassing, which is meant to guard our crew.”

In the meantime, employee rights advocates and others attentive to Amazon’s labor practices have been outraged by the reporting.

“In case you’ve got forgotten, union-busting continues to be disgusting,” tweeted the Labor Caucus within the U.S. Home of Representatives.

“Spending thousands and thousands of {dollars} on anti-union consultants is not sufficient for Amazon. Now the corporate is aggressively cracking down on their employees’ freedom of speech within the office and outright banning any phrase tangentially associated to labor organizing and dealing situations,” stated Robert Reich, a former U.S. labor secretary who’s now a professor on the College of California, Berkeley.

“A reminder to each Amazon employee who’s about to face this dystopian plan: The company large would not be doing this if it wasn’t scared of your energy,” Reich continued, including that the victory in NYC “is proof: Organized folks can beat organized cash. Sustain the battle.”

As “Frequent Goals” reported earlier Monday, the Amazon Labor Union demanded over the weekend that the corporate begin collective bargaining talks in Could and halt any modifications to employment insurance policies following the profitable union vote Friday at a Staten Island warehouse.

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