Silenced by The Shopping Giant: Amazon’s NDAs Clamp Down on Workers’ Voices

You’d think a behemoth like Amazon would be too busy with drones and Prime deliveries to stifle their workers’ voices, but recent allegations point in a disturbing direction.

In a move that’s causing a stir, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is calling out Amazon for some sneaky nondisclosure agreements (NDAs). These aren’t your standard “don’t spill the beans on company secrets” documents. Instead, they seem like sweeping gag orders that effectively mute workers, making even water cooler talk about work a no-go zone.

Imagine clocking in for a day’s work and not being able to discuss, well, work. Sounds ludicrous, right?

Yet, Mary Kate Paradis from Amazon’s PR corner insists that their NDAs are just like every other company’s. Well, if gagging employees from discussing potential grievances is “common,” then we need to reevaluate “business as usual.”

But Cheddi Skeete, a former Amazon drone worker, begs to differ. Not only did he take a stand against Amazon’s alleged racial discrimination against him, but he’s also slamming these NDAs for clipping workers’ wings. NDAs that, according to Skeete, don’t just protect trade secrets (which is fair game) but infringe upon employees’ rights to discuss and demand better working conditions.

Check this out: the NDA defines “Confidential Information” as virtually everything under the Amazon sun, from business operations and projects to the company’s future plans. It’s so broad, that even internal discussions among colleagues are on thin ice.

Seth Goldstein, the attorney making waves in defense of workers like Skeete, suggests that these NDAs are nothing short of a muzzle on a staggering “almost a million” workers across Amazon’s U.S locations.

And if you’re thinking, “Why is discussing work such a big deal?” consider this: Conversations spark change. If workers can’t discuss disparities, poor conditions, or rights infringements, how can they come together for collective action or even dare to dream of unionizing?

We’ve seen this movie before. The NLRB has previously flagged Amazon for some dodgy moves, like pushing workers into anti-union meetings. With the spotlight back on Amazon, the big question is: Will the company reevaluate its policies, or will it be business as usual in the vast halls of the retail titan?

July next year promises to be an exciting month. That’s when the hearing’s scheduled. So, grab your popcorn, and let’s see if Goliath listens or continues to stomp around.