“Assemble” and “slavery”: The dictionary of forbidden words on Amazon was revealed

Retail giant Amazon plans to block and mark employees’ posts and messages in the company’s internal messaging app, which includes keywords related to unions and founding unions, according to Amazon’s internal documents obtained by the American online news site, The Intercept. Automatic word monitoring will also block a variety of concepts, which may express criticism of the working conditions in society including “slavery”, “prison”, “petition”, “wage increase”, “compensation”, “dismissal”.

According to the “Intercept”, about six months ago in November 2021, Amazon convened a meeting of senior executives at the company to discuss plans to create an internal social network that would allow employees to “pardon” other employees’ performance with a special type of post called “Commendation Scores”. The main goal of the program, said at the meeting the head of Amazon’s retail department, Dave Clark, is to reduce employee attrition by cultivating happiness and efficiency. The “commendation scores” will be a significant part of the employee compensation system that produces “direct business value” for Amazon.

But company officials also warned of the “dark side of social media,” they said. It was therefore decided to actively monitor posts to ensure the existence of a “positive social network” or “positive community” in the workplace. “If we allow employees to write freely, we run the risk of people creating negative sentiments among employees,” the program document said.

After the meeting, a sort of automatic monitor was set up to detect “bad words”, from a blacklist, which would automatically mark and block the sending of messages containing inappropriate keywords.

Among the words that Amazon has identified as “problematic” for organization or “creating a positive community” can be found keywords from the field of labor relations and organized labor – concepts that have occupied both employees and company management for the past two years. Among the words: “union”, “complaint”, “wage increase”, “representation”, “compensation” and more. Also, other prohibited keywords include terms like “ethics”, “unfairness”, “slave”, “master”, “freedom”, “diversity in the workplace”, “injustice”, “fairness”.

According to the documents, monitoring and censorship will not only be done by an automated system and direct managers will have the authority to mark and delete messages that they deem inappropriate. If the program is implemented as a series, it is due to be inaugurated later this month.

Following the announcement, a company spokeswoman said that “our staffs are always thinking of new ways to help employees communicate with each other”, but added, apparently because of the potential noise of the Intersept reporter’s exposure that “this specific plan has not yet been approved and may change Significantly or even never to be launched. ”

Amazon vs. Trade Unions

Amazon is a company that does not like trade unions. She is not ashamed of it. In the last two years she has spent millions of dollars and waged stubborn battles against the establishment of trade unions in her many facilities.

One of the most significant battles, which has not yet come to an end, took place in Amazon’s packaging warehouses in Basmer, Alabama. In the first vote in April 2021, workers who complained about working conditions, “cemetery” shifts of ten hours or more, low wages and more, lost. However, following irregularities unveiled during the vote, the National Labor Council (NLRB) has decided to hold a re-election due to Amazon’s unfair ‘moves, the results of which are currently being clarified.

At Basmar, the company’s employees sought a change in the breaks policy and better job security. Workers complained about the length of the short breaks and the long working hours. According to them, they move constantly during the shifts, with some walking more than 10 kilometers daily. The Amazon management waged a stubborn battle with them that included, among other things, setting up the DoItWithoutDues.com website (“Do it without paying membership fees”), which encouraged employees to vote against the association; Frequent meetings with the workers in which they tried to find out whether they would vote for or against the establishment of the union in the warehouse; Workers were required to attend “education classes” in which they preached against trade unions; Flyers were hung and materials distributed against workers’ organizations in various places throughout the warehouse and more.

Last Friday, Amazon workers at JFK8 warehouses in New York stunned the company’s management and the United States in general, with most workers voting to establish a union. Without having a large organization behind them this time and with a budget of about $ 120,000, Chris Smalls, an employee who was fired from the company about two years ago, managed to unite his friends in the compound. In 2021 alone, Amazon spent $ 4.3 million on anti-organized labor consultants.

Smalls was fired from Amazon in 2020 after calling with his workplace colleagues for management to better protect workers from the corona virus. In an interview with CBS on Monday, he said much of his motivation to continue fighting for the formation of the Amazon workers’ union from which he was fired was a memorandum from a meeting of CEO Jeff Bezos, which was leaked to Vice magazine. “.

“The memo that Bezos put out stating that I was not smart or know how to express myself, that made me the face of the unionists, gave me more motivation and fuel not only not to be quiet but to bind the workers,” Chris Smalls said. He said, “Obviously Amazon is going to continue to fight against the unionized workers.”

“The next struggle – a struggle for a collective agreement – is just beginning,” Smalls told CBS, “and we will not stop fighting for our terms. We look forward to the future – the sky is the limit for us.” “Smalls went on to say that since the victory in the vote, he has been receiving calls and inquiries from Amazon employees all over the country.”

Amazon: The Second Largest Employer in the US

Amazon is the second largest employer in the United States with 950,000 employees, after Walmart which employs 1.6 million people. In 2021, Amazon’s sales were $ 221 billion.

The Intersept news site, which has won several journalistic awards in the past, last year published documents showing that company executives knew that some employees were forced to urinate in bottles but also to defecate in bags while on duty. In one of the emails received by the newspaper, a company manager wrote to his employees: “Please pass this message on to your drivers. I know it may seem obvious, or like something that should not be said, but please be clear when you convey the message that they can not poop (” POOP “). “, Or leave urine bottles in bags.”

Amazon boasts that their employees do not have to form unions because the employment conditions in the place are good and so is the minimum wage in 2018 set at $ 15 – more than double the federal hourly minimum wage of $ 7.25.

However, Amazon critics say that at the same time as it raised the minimum wage, it also removed incentives such as bonuses and payment in shares. In addition, according to some reports, only 3% of Amazon employees receive promotion during their work – about a third of the rate of other employees in this industry.

In addition, studies have shown that when Amazon opens a packaging warehouse somewhere, immediately wages in the industry in the same area are cut by 6% because Amazon is a monopoly in the field of employment. In 2020, Amazon advertised jobs for analysts, whose job requirements also included “identifying incorporation efforts that could threaten the corporation.” Amazon later removed these job offers and said the terms of admission to the position were inaccurate and that they were “mistakenly posted”.

In addition to swearing and personal slander, the list of forbidden words includes the following words:
I hate (I hate); labor union (Union); Dismissal (Fire); Ended (Terminated); Compensation (Compensation); A raise (Pay Raise); bullying (Bullying); harassment (Harassment); I do not care (I don’t care); Rude (Rude); It’s worrying (This is concerning); stupid (Stupid); It’s dumb (This is dumb); prison (Prison); threat (Threat); petition (Petition); complaint (Grievance); Injustice (Injustice); Variety (Diversity); ethics (Ethics); fairness (Fairness); accessibility (Accessibility); Vaccine (Vaccine); Living wage (Living Wage); Representation (Representation); Unfair (Unfair); Discriminatory preference (Favoritism); Score (Rate); To incorporate / incorporation (Unite/unity); Wrong (Plantation); slave (Slave); Slave labor (Slave labor); Sir (Master); Worried (Concerned); freedom (Concerned); Services (Restrooms); Robots (Robots); Garbage (Trash); committee (Committee); Coalitions (Coalition)

By Editor

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