Jeff Bezos Loved Mail-In Voting For The 2020 Election, But Not For Amazon Unionization Efforts

Jeff Bezos Loved Mail-In Voting For The 2020 Election, But Not For Amazon Unionization Efforts

Bezos's opinion on vote-by-mail isn't about security, but political and personal expedience, as is proven by the many WaPo articles showing contradictions between the 2020 election and Amazon unionization.
Paulina Enck
By

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.

Trump’s Fusillade of Falsehoods

By July, the debate had raged on to the point where a list was created detailing the “false claims or imaginary threats” expressed by Trump and his administration surrounding the risks of voter fraud. Once again, any discussion of potential risks was written off as lies and disinformation. The fact-checker gave the multitude of claims around potential election risks four Pinocchios, the Washington Post’s highest rating of falsehood — the same claims Amazon is now legitimizing in its anti-union activities.

No Election Undermining Here

As the election drew nearer, yet another list explained why any issues with voting by mail were “almost entirely nonsense.” Claiming that future assertions of fraud would be “false and politically motivated,” any potential concern was minimized to demonstrate the safety of the voting measures. By this logic, Amazon’s petition could be argued to be motivated by the desire to manipulate the election to end in its favor.

Ignore the Attacks 

One of Amazon’s principal arguments against allowing the union vote to proceed by mail in Alabama is numeric, that 5,800 votes would be too strenuous to count. This article from October, however, based a substantive portion of its defense on the fact that mail-in-voting had successfully been done in cities and states with sizable populations. How could one state’s fulfillment center be more challenging than the entire country?

Mail-in-Voting Myths

The Washington Post continued to try debunking what it perceived as falsehoods or misunderstandings surrounding voting by mail through yet another list, filled with the same key points denying fraud risks and blaming partisan biases for any questions. Through discussions of the security of the voting system and its necessity for preventing the spread of coronavirus, the argument is far closer to that of the Amazon employees, in direct contradiction to the company’s stance.

Reduced Turnout 

Despite months of the media’s vehement if unconvincing assurances, many feared the threat of election tampering through the unprecedented use of mail-in ballots and limited oversight. With the typical strategy of downplaying fears failing, the Post turned its attention to threats of reduced turnout in an article just weeks before the election, claiming that the right’s discussions of threats of fraud would stop Americans from voting. As part of Amazon’s justification for attempting to reject mail-in votes for unionization, it actually claimed that the number of voters would be reduced due to the format. Bezos’s campaign against voting by mail within his own company is the exact behavior for which conservatives were accused.

Convinced of Fraud

In the aftermath of the Capitol-storming in January, the Washington Post published an article that placed the blame not only on the men and women who rioted but on everyone who questioned mail-in voting or the security of the 2020 elections. The Post described the “lies” of election fraud as the proximate cause of “direct threat on the lives of members of Congress,” as “it is hard to extricate those who failed to challenge Trump’s lies from those who actively fostered them.” It’s an absurd leap to morally equate raising concerns about 2020 voter fraud with engaging in lawlessness that left five people dead. Through questioning the safety of mail-in ballots, would Amazon and Bezos likewise be culpable?

‘Potential Measure of Racism’

Once the left runs out of counterarguments to debate an issue on merits, they can always default to decrying anyone who disagrees with them as white supremacists, as was shown through this WaPo poll. The article was extremely vague about how it actually measured sympathy for white nationalist causes — except for respondents’ opinions on Black Lives Matter, which is a “potential measure of racism” — because the details are unimportant for the narrative. What really mattered was that those who questioned election results and mistrusted mail-in voting were racist white supremacists in the eyes of the Washington Post. Are they still?

Paulina Enck is an intern at the Federalist and current student at Georgetown University in the School of Foreign Service. Follow her on Twitter at @itspaulinaenck

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