Amazon Workers Claim Surveillance Violates Labor Laws

( – Amazon has been accused by its workers of using “intrusive algorithms” as part of a surveillance system to deter union organizing activities within their company. Workers at a warehouse in Missouri are filing with the National Labor Relations Board for unfair labor practices.

A copy of the charge says that Amazon has “maintained intrusive algorithms and other workplace controls and surveillance which interfere with Section 7 rights of employees to engage in protected concerted activity.”

There have been multiple reports of Amazon surveilling workers over union organizing and activities. This includes human resources surveilling message boards, and software to track union threats, and they’ve even put out job postings for analysts who will monitor “labor organizing threats.”

Wendy Taylor, a packer at Amazon’s STL8 fulfillment center in Saint Peters, Missouri, said “Us coming together to file this charge will hold Amazon accountable. We don’t want this to become the norm. It’s out of control.”

“Amazon tracks our every move. They know every move you make, when you’re working, when you’re not working. They surveil you with their cameras. Managers surveil you with their laptops because they can pull up your profile and a bar changes a certain color when you’re not active …” Taylor said.

“We have an injury crisis and we’re being watched and you feel like you’re in prison. We just want people to know we have a right to organize, the right to form a union, and the right to have a safer work environment.”

Essentially they’ve said that artificial intelligence can be used in the facilities to monitor video and audio footage at all times of the workers. Seema N Patel, a fellow and lecturer at Stanford Law School said, “It enables employers to control, record, monitor, and use that data to discipline hundreds of thousands of workers in a way that no human manager or group of managers could even do.”

Many of Amazon’s employees have filed complaints through means like OSHA and other facilities to speak of the unsafe work environments they’re put in due to the company’s practices.

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