A leaked memo from Amazon showed how the company’s CEO Jeff Bezos attended a recent meeting in which Amazon executives plotted ways to demonize a top labor organizer.
Notes from the meeting indicate that the Amazon executives are plotting a campaign to destroy the reputation of former warehouse employee Christian Smalls, an organizer who has been trying to rally Amazon workers for better wages and more benefits. They said that Smalls was “not smart or articulate,” and they hoped to make him “the face of the entire union/organizing movement.”
“He’s not smart, or articulate, and to the extent the press wants to focus on us versus him, we will be in a much stronger PR position than simply explaining for the umpteenth time how we’re trying to protect workers,” wrote Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky in meeting notes that were circulated throughout forwarded widely within the company.
This was apparently discussed during a daily meeting that was meant to be centered around coordinating a response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We go over the update on what’s happening around the world with our employees and with our customers and our businesses. We also spend a significant amount of time just brainstorming about what else we can do [about coronavirus],” Amazon SVP of Global Corporate Affairs Jay Carney said to describe the meeting while appearing on CNN.
But apparently their coronavirus meeting was diverted into plotting new ways to punish workers during the crisis. Amazon terminated Smalls last week after he led a protest at a Staten Island distribution facility in which several workers walked out on the job to send a message. Amazon is claiming that Smalls was fired for violating a mandatory 14-day quarantine after coming in contact with an employee who tested positive for coronavirus.
Smalls disputes the story that is being spread by Amazon about why he was fired. He is saying that his firing had nothing to do with alleged contact with an employee who tested positive for coronavirus. He claims he was fired because of concerns that he brought up with management regarding sanitation standards at the warehouse. Smalls also believes that Amazon is not being truthful about the number of workers who have been infected with coronavirus.
Other notes from the meeting lay out Amazon’s devious plan to target Smalls and make him the focal point of any response to public concerns regarding worker safety.
“We should spend the first part of our response strongly laying out the case for why the organizer’s conduct was immoral, unacceptable, and arguably illegal, in detail, and only then follow with our usual talking points about worker safety,” wrote Zapolsky in his notes from the meeting.
“Make him the most interesting part of the story, and if possible make him the face of the entire union/organizing movement,” he added.
Zapolsky attempted to rationalize his anti-worker sentiments in a groveling statement issued to VICE News after realizing his notes went public.
“I was frustrated and upset that an Amazon employee would endanger the health and safety of other Amazonians by repeatedly returning to the premises after having been warned to quarantine himself after exposure to virus Covid-19,” he said. “I let my emotions draft my words and get the better of me.”
Bezos’ brand of globalism does not put American workers first, and the coronavirus pandemic is seen by Amazon as just another excuse for the billionaire technocrat to put the squeeze on labor.
Google, Facebook, Microsoft Lobbying Trump to Keep H1B Cheap Labor Visa Program
The Masters of the Universe want to import visa workers.
300 of America’s most powerful corporations have signed onto a lobbying effort to pressure the Trump administration not to cut the H1B cheap labor visa program. Silicon Valley megacorporations Facebook and Google have signed onto a letter urging for visas to be maintained, and Microsoft has as well.
The companies claim that their hiring needs reflect the ‘national interest’ and that they need to import hundreds of thousands of foreign college graduates to work for them.
“The undersigned represent employers that rely on a highly skilled, college-educated, science and engineering workforce, including non-immigrant professionals, to innovate, produce, research, develop, and lead.”
The abuse of the H1B visa system to replace American workers with cheaper and more compliant foreign visa workers is both extensive and well documented within the technology industry. The visa structure keeps its recipients dependent on their employer for legal status within the country, creating a form of de facto indentured servitude in which employers have near-complete control over the workers they sponsor for the visas.
The visa system also enables major employers to depress wages within the American workforce, allowing companies to import workers from countries with vastly lower labor and living standards. President Donald Trump’s administration is considering suspending the program on an indefinite basis in the midst of the coronavirus recession to place American workers first again, lining up the nation’s professionals to reap the gains of economic recovery. Leading immigration patriot senators are pushing for the President to place the program on ice.
"it was both surprising and encouraging to see one group that’s severely affected by the importation of foreign labor finally become self-aware and stand up for itself." https://t.co/oFq52VYFSr
— Mark Krikorian (@MarkSKrikorian) May 23, 2020
The notion of doubling down on the hiring of new American workers- even as millions of Americans are driven into unemployment through the coronavirus recession- appears simply inconsiderable for the country’s wealthiest and most affluent technology companies. Instead, they appear to prefer a nonstop flow of cheap labor to drive up their comfortable profit margins even further.
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