Amazon Is Openly Hiring Union-Busters

Amazon Is Openly Hiring Union-Busters
A caravan of protesters in cars surrounds the Amazon Spheres in Seattle, May 1 (Photo: JASON REDMOND / Contributor, Getty Images)

Jeff Bezos obviously doesn’t want a union in his company. Amazon’s increasingly flippant statements about protest activity have made that clear, as have years of leaks in the press that detail the sort of anti-labour re-education workers are subjected to, how company brass discuss labour leaders, and the sheer resources involved in making sure individual stores don’t come loose from Amazon’s grip. Bezos — whose wealth has grown some $US87 ($118) billion during this pandemic alone — is synonymous with greed, and his company is a shorthand for lousy labour practices.

How could Amazon possibly make their stance more obvious? Put it all in a job description.

Two open positions on the company’s job board — Intelligence Analyst and Senior Intelligence Analyst — contain some incredibly startling lines in the description of their roles (emphasis ours throughout):

· Analysts must be capable of engaging and informing L7+ ER Principals (attorney stakeholders) on sensitive topics that are highly confidential, including labour organising threats against the company, establish and track funding and activities connected to corporate campaigns (internal and external) against Amazon, and provide sophisticated analysis on these topics

The listings, which seem to have been first spotted by Twitter user Joe Slowik, are explicitly calling for someone to help break up organising efforts, seemingly from existing unions attempting to get a toehold in Amazon’s empire, as well as grassroots employee activism. Fantastic.

In all likeliness you’ve read our (or really, almost anyone else’s) Amazon coverage before, so you already know it gets worse:

·Individual analysts will work directly with Sr. Corporate Counsel to compile and provide assessments for use in court filings, up to and including restraining orders against activist groups; intelligence assessments are used by Legal to demonstrate to court of law that activist groups harbour intent for continued illegal activity vis-à-vis Amazon

That Amazon is broadcasting quite openly its intent to potentially seek restraining orders against groups critical of its business practices is shocking, but not necessarily surprising. Not long after purchasing Whole Foods, it successfully fought for a restraining order against Direct Action Everywhere to keep the group from protesting within one of its stores in Berkeley, California.

Still, as a practice, restraining entire groups from engaging in protest appears to be quite rare and a brazen corporate assault on the constitutional right to free assembly. But the spirit of democracy isn’t something that can be shipped inside a cardboard box, so it largely isn’t the concern of Amazon — which is perhaps why the job description also hints at developing opposition research on politicians that don’t want to pay out the nose in subsidies just to get a warehouse or data centre.

· Analysts must be capable of creating and deploying sophisticated search strings tailored to various business interests and used to monitor for future risk; Engaging business leaders (L6+) directly is core to this support, and may cover topics including organised labour, activist groups, hostile political leaders

A brief LinkedIn search will, of course, show that Amazon already employs hundreds of “intelligence analysts” within its ranks. Previous job listings with similar titles, though, point towards responsibilities more in line with the title, like crunching data to look for business inefficiencies or identifying fraud and cybercrime risks. Both new positions are based in Phoenix, Arizona where a handful of analysts already appear to work for the company, again, based on LinkedIn results.

In the event Amazon has not made forceful enough its refusal to give quarter to a union, the same intelligence analyst job listing puts “organised labour” in the same breath as “terrorism” and “hate groups.”

· Analysts are expected to close knowledge gaps by initiating and maintaining engagement with topical subject matter experts on topics of importance to Amazon, including hate groups, policy initiatives, geopolitical issues, terrorism, law enforcement, and organised labour

The company has not yet replied to a request for comment on these roles, or about whether (or how many) current analysts have similar responsibilities.