Amazon began a Twitter conflict as a result of Jeff Bezos was pissed


Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos | Alex Wong/Getty Photos

Snarky tweets concentrating on Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren got here after the CEO instructed execs they weren’t pushing again exhausting sufficient on critics.

Amazon has lengthy been at odds with Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren over their criticisms of the corporate’s labor and enterprise practices. However the discord reached a brand new peak final week when Amazon aggressively went after each on Twitter in an uncommon assault for a big company. With every new snarky tweet from an Amazon govt or the corporate’s official Twitter account, insiders and observers alike requested a model of the identical query: “What the hell is happening?”

Seems that Amazon leaders have been following a broad mandate from the very high of the corporate: Battle again.

Recode has realized that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos expressed dissatisfaction in latest weeks that firm officers weren’t extra aggressive in how they pushed again in opposition to criticisms of the corporate that he and different leaders deem inaccurate or deceptive. What adopted was a collection of snarky and aggressive tweets that ended up fueling their very own media cycles.

The timing was probably not coincidental. Bezos and different Amazon leaders are on edge as the corporate is dealing with the biggest union election in its historical past at its Bessemer, Alabama warehouse. Election outcomes will likely be tallied early this week, and Amazon officers perceive that if a majority of the worker voters vote to unionize, it might set off a sequence response at different amenities, with the potential to power the e-commerce large to overtake the way it manages its a whole lot of 1000’s of front-line US employees. There was terror inside the manager ranks of Amazon the final time a union election was held at a US Amazon facility — and that was solely a small subset of a warehouse’s workforce, nearly all of whom voted in opposition to unionization. That vote occurred in early 2014, and consisted of simply 27 technicians and mechanics at an Amazon warehouse in Delaware. In Alabama, although, the stakes are a lot greater with practically 6,000 employees eligible to vote. Bezos is aware of all of this properly.

So when information broke final week that Sanders was planning to go to Alabama within the ultimate days of voting, high Amazon govt Dave Clark fired off a Twitter thread that began with the next put up.

“I welcome @SenSanders to Birmingham and respect his push for a progressive office,” Clark’s account posted on Wednesday. “I usually say we’re the Bernie Sanders of employers, however that’s not fairly proper as a result of we really ship a progressive office.”

Just a few hours later, the official “Amazon Information” media relations Twitter account, with greater than 170,000 followers, snapped again in opposition to Home Rep. Mark Pocan, who had questioned Clark’s “progressive office” assertion by alluding to tales of Amazon’s tempo of labor being so demanding that employees must “urinate in water bottles.”

“You don’t actually consider the peeing in bottles factor, do you?” the official Amazon Information account tweeted. “If that have been true, no one would work for us.”

And after a back-and-forth with Sen. Elizabeth Warren that started together with her criticizing the corporate’s tax funds, the identical Amazon account “quote-tweeted” Warren with this message:

An Amazon spokesperson didn’t reply to a request for remark.

If Bezos needed the information cycle off of the union drive for a bit, it type of labored. However as an alternative of speaking in regards to the union, media retailers and business observers have been centered on the rarity and judgment of a trillion-dollar firm sparring with highly effective lawmakers on Twitter. Amazon’s pushback on the congressman’s remark about employees peeing in bottles additionally ignited a brand new information cycle after The Intercept revealed inner Amazon communications acknowledging that contractors who ship Amazon packages generally defecate in baggage and urinate in bottles.

Amazon warehouse employees who’ve spoken to Recode through the years say it’s certainly uncommon to listen to of a warehouse worker — versus a supply driver — urinate in bottles at work. However the larger level many make is that it’s not unusual for employees to take different measures, comparable to limiting how a lot they drink, to cut back their want to make use of the toilet for concern of lacking their manufacturing quotas or getting written up by supervisors for an excessive amount of “time without work activity,” as Amazon calls it.

Inside Amazon, rank-and-file workers have been additionally perplexed by the corporate’s Twitter strategy. “Suspicious exercise on @amazonnews Twitter account,” was the title of 1 inner help ticket — known as a hassle ticket inside the corporate filed by an Amazon safety engineer final week, in response to a screenshot seen by Recode.

“Over the previous two days, there have been two threads by @amazonnews in response to feedback made by US Authorities officers which have acquired appreciable consideration,” the ticket reads. “The tweets in query don’t match the same old content material posted by this account.”

The safety engineer famous that the tweets have been posted utilizing Twitter’s internet app somewhat than Sprinklr, the social media administration software program sometimes utilized by the Amazon Information account to put up tweets.

The tweets, in response to the safety engineer, “are unnecessarily antagonistic (risking Amazon’s model) and could also be a results of unauthorized entry.”

The help ticket was closed with out motion, in response to a supply.

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