‘Further investigation’ reveals how Amazon is monitoring unions (and spying on their managers on social media)

Reports alerting to “possible strikes” or describing in detail the slightest distribution of leaflets, and even agents responsible for spying on union officials on Facebook… Confidential documents and testimony in support, this excerpt from “Complément d ‘ investigation ”reveals how far Amazon would go to monitor unions.


 

The Amazon platform, the world’s number one online store, is often accused of putting its employees under pressure. And to prevent any form of protest that would harm the business, its CEO and founder Jeff Bezos does not hesitate to fight unions. If necessary by killing them in the bud, as in Alabama (United States), where a fierce anti-union campaign has just foiled a historic attempt.

On the Old Continent, the boss of Amazon is obliged to come to terms with the trade unions. But they are closely watched, sometimes in defiance of legality. This excerpt from “Further investigation” (to be seen on April 22, 2021) highlights methods that are questionable to say the least. They are revealed by confidential documents that the journalists of the magazine obtained.

“Frequent trade union activity poses a threat,” writes report

These are reports from an internal Amazon security department responsible for assessing the risks to which the company is exposed. By country and by warehouse, they list the “exposure to theft of goods”, the “possibilities of a terrorist attack” or, more enigmatic, “the operational environment”. In fact, a periphrase to inform the union activity of the region, for example of “possible strikes”. “Frequent trade union activity poses a threat,” writes one of these reports.

According to information from “Complément d’Inquête”, all trade union actions, even a simple distribution of leaflets, would be carefully listed. But there would be more serious: this kind of local action would be transmitted to “intelligence analysts”, Amazon intelligence analysts, located in Europe and the United States.

“Further investigation” found one of them. The former agent did not wish to be filmed, but agreed to have his words recorded. According to him, analysts would spy on union leaders on social networks, even if it means diving into the privacy of their targets.

Amazon agents reportedly scour social media with fake profiles

Their “blankets”? False profiles such as a female nickname with a cat photo, according to the witness. “We go on Facebook, Twitter, he explains, and we navigate on groups, profiles. We are looking to see if there are any demonstrations or actions to come. (…) If someone has blocked their profile, all you have to do is find a friend of that person with an open profile. And there, if the targeted person has expressed himself there, you get information about him. ” And sometimes on an action in preparation …

Sensitive, the Christmas period would be particularly watched. “The unions say, ‘Amazon is making a lot of money during this period, but not paying more’, etc. In short, they are angry, continues the witness. You see a message passing: ‘See you tomorrow at 7 a.m.’ There, you warn the management, the local police… You bypass the demonstrators, and in the end, it is the right to demonstrate that is being infringed. ”

Contacted by email, Amazon management refutes the use of such illegal practices and claims to respect union rights on each of its sites.

Excerpt from “Jeff Bezos, Is the World His?” a document to see in “Further investigation” on April 22, 2021.

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