Saturday, 17 August, 2019

Protests, deals on Amazon Prime Day

Jason Alden  Bloomberg via Getty Jason Alden Bloomberg via Getty
Russell Knight | 16 July, 2019, 15:12

The most-recent protests across the U.S. and European countries could become a massive headache for Amazon as thousands have begun demanding better pay and working conditions, especially at warehouses which the company calls 'Fulfillment Centers.' BBC reported that numerous protesting workers in a warehouse in Minnesota, for instance, have started highlighting working conditions which are extremely detrimental to their physical and mental well-being.

Protests there are being led by the Verdi union, which has taken a strong line against Amazon's refusal to enter into collective bargaining arrangements with its workers over salaries.

Thousands of Amazon workers in the United States and Germany are striking, and protests in the UK, Spain, and Poland are planned to take place within the 48 hours of Prime Day.

On Monday, as the temperatures climbed into the 90s, a few employees, labor organizers and community members hoisted signs and marched at the edge of Amazon's Shakopee fulfillment center.

The allegations are similar in countries like Germany where Amazon employs around 20,000 people.

"I fully support Amazon workers' Prime Day strike", tweeted the 2020 Democrat presidential candidate, "Their fight for safe and reliable jobs is another reminder that we must come together to hold big corporations accountable".

Amazon-the world's most valuable company-exploits workers, evades taxes, destroys the environment, undermines democracy, and creates tech that fuels police, the military, and ICE.

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Amazon's global sales for Prime Day are expected to hit $5.8 billion over the two days, estimated Coresight Research. The demonstrations underscore workers and Amazon's reluctance to reach an agreement on issues like employment status and working conditions.

Germany's Verdi argues that money for better wages is "available" as in the first quarter of this year alone Amazon posted record profits of 3.2 billion euros. They are being held to coincide with Amazon Prime Day - a discount event held on Monday and Tuesday for Amazon Prime customers.

"These groups are conjuring misinformation to work in their favor, when in fact we already offer the things they purport to be their cause - industry leading pay of $15 per hour, benefits, and a safe workplace for our employees".

Publications covering Prime Day deals have been the target of backlash from readers who say the coverage is tone-deaf to the strikes and worker-conditions protests.

Amazon Prime Day is meant to be a two-day parade of "epic deals", according to the online retail megalith.

The Monday protest is the newest in a series of disputes that the e-commerce giant has had with its warehouse employees. "If these groups - unions and politicians they rally to their cause - really want to help the American worker, we encourage them to focus their energy on passing legislation for an increase in the federal minimun wage, because $7.25 is too low".

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