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Amazon’s planned worker chat app would reportedly ban words like ‘union’

Amazon’s anti-union stance may seep into employee apps. According to internal documents obtained by The Intercept, a planned worker chat app would include a blocklist aimed primarily at silencing pro-union keywords.

In addition to prohibiting the use of the term “union,” it would also prohibit the use of terms such as “compensation,” “pay raise,” “ethics,” and even “robots.”

Other bans would be more concerned with keeping things positive, such as “rude” and “stupid.” The majority, however, appear to be focused on working conditions.

Amazon allegedly chose the words during an upper-level meeting in November 2021, when they outlined an app that would encourage “Shout-Outs” and offer digital rewards for adding value to the company.

According to reports, the app-related programme will begin in April. However, Amazon spokeswoman Barbara Agrait stated that the initiative “has not yet been approved” and that it could be changed or scrapped.

If the programme and its associated app go live, it will be at a critical juncture. Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island recently voted to unionise, and those in Bessemer, Alabama recently had a hotly contested rerun election in which both sides accused each other of meddling.

While this app is unlikely to impede union organisers, it may highlight labour concerns that the company does not want employees to raise.

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