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Amazon locks down internal employee communications amid organizing efforts

Enlarge / Amazon's headquarters on a sunny day in 2018.Andrei Stanescu | Getty Images
Amazon is..

By admin , in Tech , at April 30, 2020

Enlarge / Amazon's headquarters on a sunny day in 2018.Andrei Stanescu | Getty Images

Amazon is reportedly (and suddenly) enforcing rules limiting employees' internal communication as workers, critical of the company's behavior, become increasingly outspoken and organized.

Internal listservs with more than 500 participants are now required to move to a moderated model where a manager must approve any content before its distribution, according to emails obtained by Recode.

Amazon had almost 800,000 total employees worldwide as of the end of 2019, a number that does not include the recent addition of another 175,000 temporary warehouse and delivery workers the company just hired to handle increased demand due to COVID-19. Of those 800,000, more than 500,000 are in the United States, and at least 275,000 of those are full-time employees.

Those hundreds of thousands of employees use thousands of internal listservs to talk among themselves about basically anything. That "anything," of late, includes many criticisms of Amazon. The company has faced both internal and external reproof for its management of warehouses, where some employees have called for better cleaning, more protective equipment, and more paid time off as COVID-19 has spread through at least 50 US facilities.

Amazon fired one warehouse worker at the head of organization efforts in the company's Staten Island warehouse about a month ago, then tried to paint him as the face of all attempts to organize while dismissing him as "not smart or articulate." Several employees who had spoken out in those internal groups about the company's treatment of its warehouse workers during COVID-19 were likewise fired earlier this month. At the time, Amazon said the employees were fired for "repeatedly violating internal policies," adding, "We support every employee's right to criticize their employer's working conditions, but that does not come with blanket immunity against any and all internal policies."

The company told Recode that the moderation policy is not new but that Amazon has begun enforcement against lists that either weren't following the rules or had previously been granted exceptions after a "routine audit." An internal message to employees, obtained by Recode, said the chRead More – Source

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