The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Leaked Memo Reveals Amazon's Proposal to Implement Union-Tracking Software

Leaked Memo Reveals Amazon's Proposal to Implement Union-Tracking Software
07 October 2020

Amazon have come under scrutiny for a leaked memo that describes a new level of surveillance on employee activity outside of work – unions are listed amongst other threats to business such as weather and crime.

Details from the 11-page document were publicly shared by Recode – it outlines plans for funding the use of a new technology, the geoSPatial Operating Console (SPOC). Amazon already uses data from sources such as social media, search engines and device microphones to target advertising that is more relevant to the consumer. The new investment would help the company analyse around 40 different data sets. Many of these related to employee concerns such as overtime and safety incidents. Several specific labour unions were mentioned for monitoring purposes.

The software would allow Amazon to efficiently map and calculate the external environmental factors that can affect the success of their business, including national disasters and power cuts. Bringing human workers into that picture raises the issue of privacy. In September they advertised for two data-analyst roles that would include reporting on union activity – these adverts were later taken down from the internet.


Amazon's Response to the Leaked Information

In a statement to the BBC, Amazon said: "We respect our employees' right to join, form or not to join a labour union or other lawful organisation of their own selection, without fear of retaliation, intimidation or harassment. Across Amazon, including in our fulfilment centres, we place enormous value on having daily conversations with each associate and work to make sure direct engagement with our employees is a strong part of our work culture."

A large number of employees have expressed frustration with Amazon’s handling of COVID-19. The Congress of Essential Workers staged a protest outside Jeff Bezos's mansion, calling for higher wages, the right to unionise and changes to the way the pandemic is being addressed. This is the most recent of employee disputes with the second largest private sector employer in the USA.

Picture: an amazon building. 
Picture 2: a surveillance graphic.

Article written by Bailey Sparkes | Published 07 October 2020


Related Articles

Amazon Opens First Ever Hospital-Located ‘Just Walk Out’ Store

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has opened the world’s first checkout-free store using Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology in a healthcare...

 Read Full Article
Makers of the World's Smallest Wireless Sensors Launch Desk Occupancy Sensor

One of the challenges of managing facilities in the era of hybrid working models is managing how space is used or needed. The developers of the world’s smallest...

 Read Full Article
Amazon Looks to Offload 10m Square Feet of Warehouse Space, Reports Suggest

Amazon is looking to sublet or terminate leases of excess warehouse space due to a drop in online shopping, says Bloomberg. According to the news report by Bloomberg,...

 Read Full Article
Security at Home – Protecting the New Office

Homeworking is far from a new concept, but the pandemic has encouraged many companies to stick with reducing their communal office commitments. With this comes reduced...

 Read Full Article
Casella Launches Social Distancing Smart Tags for Workers

A smart-monitoring technology company has launched a wearable smart tag designed to make social distancing easier. The body-worn Orbi-Trace smart tag gives the...

 Read Full Article
Platform Launched to Fight Air Quality Confidentiality

OpenAQ, a global nonprofit NGO aiming to build the world’s largest repository of air quality data, have announced a new pilot platform integrating low-cost...

 Read Full Article
CCTV’s Role in the Surveillance of Remote Workers

Coronavirus is accelerating the demand for CCTV systems being used to remotely monitor people and operations in the workplace, according to a new...

 Read Full Article
Surveillance Software to Monitor Home Workers Includes Screenshot Technology

Employers’ use of surveillance software, known as bossware, appears to be on the up, with off-the-shelf products able to track keystrokes, mouse movements and even...

 Read Full Article
It's The Uber For FM Staffing – Ezitracker Collaborates with Broadstone on Temp Staff App

With a plan to deliver a contingent workforce into the FM supply sector, workforce management software company Ezitracker has partnered with Broadstone, a tech...

 Read Full Article
The Star Is Tech In Next Generation Adventure

GlaxoSmithKline has asked Emcor UK to be very techie in technical services. What is being described as a £ multi-million 'next generation' 5-year contract...

 Read Full Article