Twitch is removing the anti-union ads that its parent company, Amazon, was running on the platform. The ads showed Amazon employees talking about why they want to vote no on unionization and directed viewers to Amazon’s “DoItWithoutDues” website. A Twitch spokesperson said the ads “should never have been allowed to run on [the] service,” as they violate its political advertising policies.
Twitch also says that it is “evaluating [its] review processes to ensure that similar content does not run in the future.”
The ads were the latest entry in a long campaign aimed at disrupting organization efforts at an Amazon warehouse outside of Birmingham, Alabama. Those efforts involve pulling employees into mandatory meetings, near-daily texts to employees, relentless anti-union posters in the workplace, and even reportedly changing the timing of traffic lights to disrupt a union drive. Amazon running the ads on a streaming platform it owns, however, was a very public move. It’s unclear if the company was targeting certain streams or viewers.
Reached for comment, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) president Stuart Appelbaum denounced the ad. “Amazon feels that it has to go to extremes like this in order to gaslight its workers about the dreadful working conditions at its Bessemer warehouse,” Appelbaum said, “Amazon is leaving no stone unturned - including ads on Twitch - in its efforts to deceive and intimidate their employees into voting against the union.”
Amazon was not immediately available for comment.
The union has also been having its own media push, with actor Danny Glover and Georgia politician Stacey Abrams encouraging workers to vote “yes.” Both talked about their connection with the South and how their upbringings and parents gave them respect for unions.
The unionization fight comes after a string of troubling news for Amazon workers: the company allegedly forced its warehouse workers to work 10-hour overnight shifts, made plans to install always-on surveillance cameras in its delivery vehicles, and is being sued by the state of New York for allegedly failing to keep its frontline workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Alabama unionization vote began on February 8th and is scheduled to conclude on March 29th.
Update February 25th, 2:46PM ET: Added response from the RWDSU.