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Lawmakers question Amazon for censoring workers’ internal chats

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Democrat lawmakers have sent a letter to Amazon, criticizing the company for its internal messaging app that reportedly censors some topics, such as unionizing. The lawmakers, led by Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, accused the company of breaking labor laws.

The Intercept this year reported that Amazon was working on an internal messaging app that would ban users from using certain terms, such as pay raise, accessibility, slave labor, union, pay raise, and injustice.

“Unfortunately, the Proposed App and its anti-worker censorship fit all too well with Amazon’s track record of worker surveillance, inhumane treatment, and union busting,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter addressed to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy.

We obtained a copy of the letter for you here.

“The company’s banning of the words that keep workers from expressing their concerns about racialized workplace mistreatment is particularly problematic,” they added.

The lawmakers told Amazon that the censorship in the app is potentially illegal because employees have the right to have workplace conditions under the National Labor Relations Act. They also said the app could violate the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act.

“By censoring communications, Amazon is sending a message to workers that discussing working conditions will not be tolerated and that Amazon will exercise its power to monitor and stop such communications. This could have an unlawful chilling effect on workers’ protected concerted activity,” the letter states.

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