Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Launches Twitter War Amidst Union Vote

NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 14: Jeff Bezos, chief executive officer of Amazon, listens during a meeting of technology executives and President-elect Donald Trump at Trump Tower, December 14, 2016 in New York City.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

When it comes to the world’s wealthiest billionaires and Twitter controversies, Jeff Bezos isn’t usually the first name that comes to mind. In fact, Bezos’ Twitter account hasn’t shown any activity since February 2020. But the Amazon CEO seems to have marshalled his forces for a Twitter war against politicians Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren and Mark Pocan.

See: Nominate Your Favorite Small Business and Share With Your CommunityFind: Biden Backs Historic Amazon Warehouse Workers’ Vote in Alabama

Unlike billionaire Elon Musk, who often takes to voicing his opinions on the social network, Bezos has instead instructed his fellow Amazon executives on Twitter to “fight back” against criticisms of Amazon, Vox reported.

The result? “A series of snarky and aggressive tweets,” Vox reported, that may have served to distract, albeit temporarily, from the news of a vote for Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama to unionize.

See: Rubio Announces Support for Amazon Union WorkersFind: How Much Is Amazon Worth?

Clark vs. Sanders, Then Amazon vs. Almost Everyone

The Twitter war started with Amazon executive Dave Clark pushing back at Sanders’ pro-union tweets and quickly devolved into suspicions that the Amazon News account might’ve been hacked.

First, Clark retweeted an article from Business Insider reporting that Sanders would be meeting with Amazon workers in Alabama, tagging a dig at Sanders to what initially seemed to be an innocent tweet. “I welcome @SenSanders to Birmingham and appreciate his push for a progressive workplace,” Clark wrote. “I often say we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that’s not quite right because we actually deliver a progressive workplace.”

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When U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan pointed out the oft-cited belief that Amazon workers are forced to “urinate in water bottles,” Amazon News, an official verified Twitter account for the corporation, shot back: “You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you?”

See: NY Sues Amazon for Lack of COVID Safety MeasuresFind: Bernie Sanders, Elon Musk Feud Over Income Inequality (and Space Travel) – ‘Right Now, We Need to Focus on Earth’

Several news sources, including the Intercept, shared documents detailing that Amazon drivers have peed in bottles while on the road in order to meet delivery quotas, but there was no proof uncovered that warehouse workers have done the same.

As the controversy raged on in a Twitter battle that seemed to be Amazon against everyone else, with few stepping up to defend the e-commerce giant, Sen. Elizabeth Warren seemed to accuse Amazon of heckling senators with “snotty tweets.”

The odd exchange caused one Amazon employee, a security engineer, to file an internal support ticket regarding the Amazon News Twitter account, noting that, “The tweets in question do not match the usual content posted by this account.” The ticket was closed without action, a source reported to Vox.

See: Cinnamon Toast Crunch and 9 More Big Brands Who Stumbled During Huge PR ScandalsFind: Can Amazon Continue Its Incredible Run in 2021?

Historic Union Vote Could Precede Winds of Change

Today, 6,000 Amazon workers will have the opportunity to vote for a union. Lynne Vincent, an assistant professor of management at Syracuse University’s Whitman School, told Business Insider that it “may be the most important union vote in decades.”

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If unionized, the Alabama warehouse could serve as a “roadmap for employees at Amazon and other companies across the country on how to effectively unionize,” Business Insider reported, citing expert sources.

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