After public outcry, Amazon deletes listings for 2 intelligence jobs that involved tracking ‘labor organizing threats’

September 1, 2020, 8:02 PM UTC

Amazon has deleted listings for two job openings whose duties included tracking “labor organizing threats against the company” after the positions caused a public uproar.

Amazon’s postings, removed on Tuesday, were for a senior intelligence analyst and an intelligence analyst within its Phoenix, Az.-based Global Security Operations’ “global intelligence program.” The group is responsible for keeping tabs on and reporting to leadership all manner of corporate risks, everything from protests and geopolitical crises to insider threats and trade secret theft.

The jobs’ duties, Amazon said, “may cover topics including organized labor, activist groups, hostile political leaders.” The company said it expected the analysts to keep up to date on “topics of importance to Amazon, including hate groups, policy initiatives, geopolitical issues, terrorism, law enforcement, and organized labor.”

Despite appearing on LinkedIn for days—and on the official Amazon jobs portal for months—the listings caused an uproar after they became broadly known on Tuesday. Amazon critics described the prospective employees as “snitches” and “union busters.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont called Amazon’s actions “disgusting” in a tweet, saying that “Jeff Bezos became the richest man on Earth while spying on, underpaying, and mistreating his workers.”

“We must build a powerful trade union movement to stand up to the billionaire class and finally say: Enough. You cannot have it all,” Sen. Sanders added.

Amazon did not reply to Fortune’s request for comment; however, a spokesperson told CNBC that “the job post was not an accurate description of the role—it was made in error and has since been corrected,” without elaborating further.

Amazon and its warehouse workers have a history of clashing. The coronavirus pandemic exacerbated tensions between management and the rank-and-file, who contended that the company failed to protect people’s health and safety amid the spread of COVID-19.

Amazon is under investigation in New York for firing a worker who participated in a walkout, and it has faced criticism for similar firings that have targeted activists and labor organizers this year. Amazon maintains that the terminations were the result of people violating internal company policies.

The Open Markets Institute, a nonprofit group that advocates against corporate monopolies, released a paper Monday criticizing Amazon’s employee surveillance practices. Daniel Hanley, a policy analyst who co-authored the paper, called “Eyes Everywhere,” said that “decreasing the market power of such dominant firms is critical to protect workers’ rights to privacy and to collectively organize.”

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