European Lawmakers Ask Jeff Bezos to Testify About Union-Busting

The hearing, which will focus on violations of workers' rights and union activity at Amazon, is scheduled for May 27.
May 11, 2021, 6:35pm
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On the Clock is Motherboard's reporting on the organized labor movement, gig work, automation, and the future of work.

European lawmakers are calling on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to testify before European Parliament at a hearing on May 27, Agnes Jongerius, a member of European Parliament and spokesperson on employment and social affairs, has confirmed to Motherboard. 

The hearing, which will focus on violations of workers' rights and union activity at Amazon, follows increased scrutiny of Amazon's labor practices in Europe, where laws protecting union activity are much stronger than they are in the United States.

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"We have not received an answer yet on whether or not he will accept our invitation," Jongerius told Motherboard. "Of course, we sincerely hope he will engage with the European Parliament and the European democratic process as he did in the US Congress."

In November, a Motherboard investigation revealed that Amazon has an intelligence team dedicated to spying on unions and labor organizing at its warehouses in Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Poland, Spain, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia. The company also hired the notorious Pinkerton Detective Agency to spy on employees.

In October, 37 members of European Parliament wrote a letter to Bezos, condemning recent reports about Amazon's interference with worker organizing in Europe, first covered by Motherboard. 

“Amazon is attempting to impose its conflictual labor model on working people across Europe," Oliver Roethig regional secretary of UNI Europa, a federation of trade unions in Europe, told Motherboard. 

In the United States, Bezos regularly declines invitations to testify before Congress. He testified for the first time at an antitrust hearing in July 2020.