Amazon is facing a new round of scrutiny over the army of deposit workers it enlisted to defend the company and CEO Jeff Bezos on Twitter against criticism of the company’s strenuous working conditions.
On Tuesday, The Intercept published leaked documents detailing the program, which Amazon launched in 2018 under the code name “Veritas”, revealing how Amazon recruited and trained employees to “clear things up – without leaving lies without contesting and showing the who knows what it’s like to work at our FCs love their jobs. “
Amazon demanded that “ambassadors” “have a strong track record of performance and a clean HR record, be authentic, have a great sense of humor and be enthusiastic to speak their minds and refute our critics in a polite and direct way”, according to internal documents obtained by The Intercept.
In a pilot test for Veritas, Amazon employees resisted criticism that Bezos should be taxed higher, a post by Senator Bernie Sanders interviewing a worker who said he had suicidal thoughts as a result of Amazon’s working conditions, and even even reported by Insider about workers urinating in bottles because they feared punishment for being “off the job”.
“FC ambassadors are employees who work in our distribution centers and choose to share their personal experience – the FC ambassadors program helps to show what it really is like inside our distribution centers, along with the public visits we offer. We encourage everyone who want to see it by signing up for a tour on www.amazonfctours.com, “Amazon spokeswoman Lisa Levandowski told Insider in a statement.
In September, the Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Debbie Dingell, both Democrats from Michigan, said Amazon’s security team called the police when they tried to inspect one of its warehouses, but at the company’s request. Others who visited Amazon’s facilities said the tours did little to allay their concerns about working conditions.
Congressman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez also criticized Amazon’s tourism strategy on Tuesday, accusing it of offering “pre-booked tours well in advance”, where the company can define the terms, adding that “if you respond with a request for surprise access to a facility is always a different story. “
Amazon’s Twitter army came back into the spotlight this week amid a historic effort by warehouse workers at its Bessemer, Alabama facility to unionize – the biggest effort of its kind in the company’s history.
This week, dozens of Twitter accounts, introducing themselves as Amazon warehouse workers, began responding to new reports that the deposit and delivery team still needs to pee in bottles – or, in some cases, defecate in bags.
But Twitter closed some of the accounts after Gizmodo reported that at least one was probably not a real person. (Amazon told Karen Weise of The New York Times that the account was a fake and reported the account to Twitter).
Top Amazon executives and public relations teams have also become increasingly conflicted on Twitter recently, arguing publicly with lawmakers, including Sens. Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Representative Mark Pocan.
The tweets, reported by The Intercept, were so antagonistic that Amazon’s security team, although the company might have been hacked, was fired because “Jeff Bezos was pissed off,” according to Recode.
In one case, Amazon’s official PR account responded to Rep. Pocan, saying “You really don’t believe in this thing about peeing in bottles, do you? If that were true, no one would work for us.”
Amazon, which has been open and aggressively anti-union, has implemented a number of tactics to fight unions, from pushing the company’s discussion points during mandatory “education” meetings at midnight to changing traffic lights near its facilities. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, under which Amazon employees are trying to organize, said the move was a ploy to prevent its members from talking to workers at a red light.
The company also reactivated its ambassadors on Twitter to respond to a recent wave of criticism about “pee bottles” and other complaints workers have raised about working conditions.