Between his two major companies, Amazon and the Washington Post, Jeff Bezos does not hold consistent views on mail-in voting. When it could assist his preferred presidential candidate in reaching the White House, it was safe, and any questions to the contrary were mere attempts to undermine democracy. Yet now that his own employees at Amazon wish to use those same methods to vote for unionization, suddenly this wonderful format is not secure enough.
Amazon workers are voting to form a union to combat the shipping and tech giant’s notoriously poor working conditions, much to the company’s chagrin. Amazon has actively tried to prevent unions from gaining a foothold, creating a website detailing the benefits the company already provides and attempting to postpone the vote.
Employees at a fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama — which recently became the state with the highest COVID-19 positivity rate — out of fear of catching or spreading coronavirus, intended to have their election by mail. After all, for the past six months, the corporate press inundated readers and viewers with decrees that in contrast to deadly in-person voting during the pandemic, vote-by-mail was a perfectly safe alternative.
Amazon petitioned the National Labor Relations Board to postpone Bessemer’s election in order to prevent voting by mail. An exclusively in-person union vote could easily harm voter turn out, which could work to Amazon’s favor, and the corporate giant knows this. Its petition claims that the group of 5,800 employees is prohibitively large to organize voting by mail, an election format that has “serious and systemic flaws.” Amazon likewise told CNN that “the best approach to a valid, fair and successful election is one that is conducted manually, in-person.”
Bezos clearly does not want his employees to unionize. When you’re the wealthiest person in the world but treat your employees horribly, why would you possibly desire to provide them a recourse to demand changes you could easily afford to improve working conditions?
The Washington Post spent the last election cycle explaining why demands for in-person voting, the stance Amazon is now taking, is everything from “nonsense” to “racist.” Bezos himself celebrated the 2020 election, which heavily relied on voting by mail, posting on instagram, “By voting in record numbers, the American people proved again that our democracy is strong.”
If there were any ideological consistency on the left regarding election safety and security, neither Bezos nor his newspaper would approve of his treatment of Amazon employees. But their opinion on elections has nothing to do with actual security, but rather political and personal expedience, as is proven by the many articles that demonstrate the blatant contradictions.
‘Nearly Tamper-Proof’ Vote-by-Mail
This article from July 2020 detailed Oregon’s vote-by-mail strategy in an effort to rebuke any concerns leveled by President Donald Trump and other Republicans. It explained how “convenient” and “nearly tamper-proof” the system was, as well as being safe during lockdowns. The open claim that mail-in ballots “work great” is a far cry from the new claim of “serious and systemic flaws.”
All the Voter Suppression
The very next day, the Washington Post published another piece that vehemently stood against any questions around mail-in ballots. Apparently, concerns that vote-by-mail systems could lead to increased fraud was a “racist” “dog whistle,” akin to support of the Confederacy or the KKK. The story mostly detailed historic examples of racially-motivated voter suppression, ascribing similar motives to conservatives. It’s interesting yet unsurprising that Amazon isn’t marked with the same accusations now.