Tech

Amazon deletes job listings for analysts to track 'labor organizing threats' following public outcry

Key Points
  • Amazon posted, and later removed, two job listings for intelligence analysts that would be charged with tracking "labor organizing threats" and other "sensitive topics."
  • An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC in a statement that the listings were "not an accurate description of the role."
  • The company has faced widespread criticism over its labor practices before and during the coronavirus pandemic.
Amazon workers at Amazon's Staten Island warehouse strike in demand that the facility be shut down and cleaned after one staffer tested positive for the coronavirus on March 30, 2020 in New York.
Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

Amazon was looking to hire two intelligence analysts charged with tracking "labor organizing threats" inside the company, which drew criticism from activists and news outlets and caused it to take down the job listings on Tuesday.

The company recently posted job listings for a senior intelligence analyst and an intelligence analyst, both based in Phoenix, Arizona, that would be part of its Global Security Operations' Global Intelligence Program, according to the posting. The analysts would be charged with gathering information on any internal and external threats to Amazon and reporting the data to leaders across the organization. 

Among the types of intelligence they might gather are "sensitive topics that are highly confidential, including labor organizing threats against the company," "funding and activities connected to corporate campaigns (internal and external) against Amazon," as well as briefings on "dynamic situations" including protests, geopolitical crises and other topics "sensitive to human resources and employee relations."

Amazon recently posted two job listings for senior intelligence analysts charged with tracking "labor organizing threats," among other "sensitive topics."

The job listings drew widespread scrutiny from worker rights groups and other critics, including Stacy Mitchell, a co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, who has spoken out about Amazon's labor practices and testified in front of lawmakers last year about its market power. 

Stacy Mitchell tweet

By the early afternoon, Amazon took down both job listings from its website. An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC in a statement: "The job post was not an accurate description of the role — it was made in error and has since been corrected."

The spokesperson did not say what was incorrect about the job descriptions, which had been on Amazon's open jobs site for at least a few days.

Amazon's labor practices have been in focus before and during the coronavirus pandemic. Beginning in March, tensions developed between Amazon and warehouse workers, with employees claiming the company hasn't done enough to protect them from catching the coronavirus.

The company drew further criticism after, in April, it fired three employees who were outspoken critics of its labor practices. Amazon said it fired the employees after they violated internal policies.

Prior to the pandemic, it faced criticism from politicians and employees over a pay disparity between warehouse workers and corporate employees. Amazon later announced it would raise the minimum wage for all U.S. employees to $15. Last year, warehouse workers also held protests during Amazon's annual Prime Day shopping event to shed light on concerns around working conditions and wage practices. 

Dania Rajendra, director of Athena, a labor and activist coalition, called the now-deleted job listings "disturbing" and said the positions are proof that Amazon is "targeting" workers for speaking out.

"This job description is proof that Amazon intends to continue on this course," Rajendra said. "The public deserves to know whether Amazon will continue to fill these positions, even if they're no longer publicly posted."

Watch: How Amazon fends off unions as more workers hold protests

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