As Amazon’s “Prime Day” event continues until midnight of July 17th, thousands upon thousands of Amazon workers are still setting up well-organized protests to speak out against inhospitable work conditions being pushed by their employers.
On Monday, July 16th, over 1,800 Amazon workers set out on strike in Spain, along with thousands more across Germany, according to the Washington Post.
The following is an excerpt from a statement issued by the strikers. You can read the full statement for yourself, translated into a number of different languages, by visiting the striker’s website here.
“In poland they are using a hard anti-strike law to impose miserable SALARIES. In germany they struggle for a collective AGREEMENT GUARANTEEING the rights of all workers INDEPENDENTLY in their centre contries. In france the very demanding measures to control times and efficiency stay in place. (…) In the rest of the world Amazon is making history, but hardly distributes its millions of profits.”
Amazon has responded to at least a few of the claims levied against them. In an article by BBC news addressing the protest, Amazon refuted that workers were being paid fairly, with wages starting at £10.81 for those who have worked with the company for at least two years.
However, worldwide news and worker claims have not been kind on them. Another recent event was the second death of a worker in an Amazon warehouse in Indiana. According to an article on Recode, the death could lead to an investigation of company warehouse policies and practices, and Amazon could face up to $28,000 legal damages from the death, though this amount of money is pocket change to a company of its size. The other recent death was a 28-year-old factory worker named Devan Shoemaker, who was crushed by a truck near the loading docks of an Amazon facility in Carlisle, PE.
Amazon’s questionable practices as a business are numerous. Although Amazon higher-ups claim that the statements made by those workers on strike are not accurate portrayals of life in the Amazon warehouses, Amazon’s track record when it comes to healthy business practices isn’t doing the company any justice either. For instance, according to a well-evidenced article on Politifact, the company managed to get away with paying zero taxes in 2017.
But despite all that the strikers have done, and all the bad press these events have been generating, it is not likely that any of these events are having significant impacts on Amazon’s higher-ups. Many individuals have not even heard of Amazon’s many slip-ups or its continual efforts to put its own bottom line above the safety and happiness of its lower employees.
Also not helping the company’s image is Amazon’s CEO, Jeff Bezos, who is now the wealthiest man in the world and holds a net-value of over 150 billion dollars. According to a section on the CEO by an article on tom’s guide, who had said that sending rich people to space for $300,000 is the “only way” for him to possibly be able to spend all the wealth he’s gained.
Will this strike ever see any kind of results? Will Amazon ever acknowledge the efforts made by the strikers and arrange any kind of deal to ease up on their requirements for factory workers? Your guess is as good as ours, but they’ve got a long way to go.
And although it might be simple enough to be immersed in the convenience of Amazon’s “One-Click Buy” button, just remember that thousands upon thousands of factory workers are laboring away behind every click.
If you’d like to read more about this issue, check out the protester website “Amazon En Lucha” (Using a Spanish translator if needed) for some accounts of scorned workers, or an excellently-written article by Motherboard titled “The Motherboard Guide to Amazon Prime Day’s Best Deals,” a deceptive title that leaves readers unprepared for the body of the piece.
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