Overnight Technology

Hillicon Valley — Amazon workers secure major union win in New York

Associated Press/Craig Ruttle

Today is Friday. Welcome to Hillicon Valley, detailing all you need to know about tech and cyber news from Capitol Hill to Silicon Valley. Subscribe here and view the full edition here.

Workers at an Amazon facility in Staten Island voted to be represented by a union,  becoming the e-commerce giant’s first union in the country.

Amazon is also facing more scrutiny from House Democrats over the company’s labor practices, especially during severe weather events.

Send tips and feedback to The Hill’s tech team, Rebecca Klar (rklar@thehill.com) and Chris Mills Rodrigo (cmillsrodrigo@thehill.com), and cyber reporter Ines Kagubare (ikagubare@thehill.com).

Let’s get to it.


A first in US

Workers at one of Amazon’s New York City facilities voted to be represented by a union, a historic first at the nation’s second-largest private employer. 

After the two-day ballot count, workers at the Staten Island warehouse known as JFK8 voted by a 2,654-2,131 margin to be represented by the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), an independent organization led by current and former workers. The amount of challenged ballots, 66, is not enough to sway the result. 

The union can now move toward collectively bargaining for a contract for the first time at an American Amazon facility. 

The genesis of the unionization campaign came at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when several employees at the warehouse walked off the job to protest Amazon’s safety measures. 

Read more about the vote here


Dems probe Amazon labor practices

Democrats on the House Oversight and Reform Committee are probing Amazon’s labor practices, particularly during “severe weather events” such as the tornado in December that led to a fatal collapse at an Amazon facility in Edwardsville, Ill.

Democrats requested documents from Amazon detailing its policies, communications with employees about procedures and any terminations or disciplinary action taken against workers at the Edwardsville and other facilities across the U.S.  

“We are concerned by recent reports that Amazon may be putting the health and safety of its workers at risk, including by requiring them to work in dangerous conditions during tornadoes, hurricanes, and other extreme weather,” they wrote in a letter shared Friday. 

Read more about the letter


UKRAINE ACCUSES CHINA OF LAUNCHING CYBERATTACKS

China allegedly launched a major cyberattack on Ukraine’s military and nuclear facilities in the lead up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Ukrainian intelligence reports obtained by British daily newspaper The Times.

Ukraine’s security service (SBU) said the Chinese government attempted to hack more than 600 websites belonging to the government and other key institutions, according to the report. 

The security agency alleged that the attacks began before the end of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games held in Beijing and escalated the day before Russian troops invaded Ukraine on Feb. 23.  

Read more here


CANADIAN AGENCY SPOTS RUSSIAN DISINFORMATION 

A Canadian agency said on Friday that it had observed “numerous Russia-backed disinformation campaigns” that were meant to support Moscow’s actions in Ukraine. 

Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE) said in a Twitter thread that among the observations noted in its classified reporting were allegations that Russia coordinated efforts to spread the idea that organs of dead soldiers, women and children were being harvested by Ukraine, while using “mobile cremators to dispose of the evidence.” 

“Russia has created and amplified fake stories and narratives falsely claiming that only military targets were being attacked, and that civilian causalities in Ukraine were lower [than] what [was] confirmed, verifiable reports have shown,” the CSE said. 

Read more here.  


BITS & PIECES

An op-ed to chew on: Can supply chain disruptions lead to a recession? 

Lighter click: so happy for them 

Notable links from around the web

A Q&A With Workers Leading the Game Industry’s Unionization Movement (Motherboard / Lauren Kaori Gurley) 

Ben McKenzie Would Like a Word With the Crypto Bros (The New York Times / David Yaffe-Bellany) 


One more thing: Russian regulator warns Wikipedia

Russian mass media regulator Roskomnadzor has threatened to fine Russian-language Wikipedia over an article it claims contains “inaccurate information” about the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine. 

Roskomnadzor, in a stern notice on Thursday, warned that it had notified the administration of Wikipedia to immediately remove the “inaccurate information” on the subject, which it said is aimed at misinforming Russian users, according to a translation of the Russian notice

According to the notice, failure to remove the information will result in a fine of up to 4 million rubles, or $50,000. 

Read more here.  


That’s it for today, thanks for reading. Check out The Hill’s technology and cybersecurity pages for the latest news and coverage. We’ll see you Monday.

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