Ahead of March 29th, Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama have an important decision to make. They need to decide whether to unionize. And as you can imagine, the company they work for is doing everything in its power to convince them to vote no, including turning to Twitch to put anti-union ads in front of people from Alabama. But in a break from its parent company, the streaming platform has now removed those videos.
"Twitch does not allow political advertising, and these ads should never have been allowed to run on our service,” a spokesperson for the company told Motherboard. “We have removed these ads and are evaluating our review processes to ensure that similar content does not run in the future. We are grateful to our community for bringing this to our attention." Twitch’s terms of service explicitly prohibit the use of its monetization tools in support of “influencing any election.”
NEW: Amazon is running glossy anti-union ads to combat the organizing drive by workers at their Bessemer, AL, warehouse. An Alabama resident said this spot is one of several that Amazon is now running on Twitch. pic.twitter.com/6WlojetvzY— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) February 23, 2021
In one of the ads, first spotted by More Perfect Union, an employee says, “We really don’t need anyone coming in and telling us what they want to give us — because, basically, we have everything we need here.” As they start to speak to some of the perks of working at Amazon, including day-one benefits, the camera zooms out to a mosaic of employees, who say in unison, “Vote no. We can do it without the dues.”
To say Amazon has a fraught relationship with unions and regulators would be an understatement. Earlier this month, an advocacy group based out Chicago accused the company of forcing employees to take on grueling 10-hour shifts or find new work. Less than two weeks ago, the company sued New York Attorney General Letitia James over an investigation into COVID-19 safety concerns at two of its fulfillment centers. We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment. We’ll update this article when we hear back from the company.