Amazon workers and activists in 30 countries marked the traditional start of the holiday shopping season with a series of strikes and protests to demand better wages and working conditions.
In Manhattan, activists, labor unions and Amazon workers demonstrated outside the home of company founder Jeff Bezos in the Tony Flatiron District.
Outside St. Louis, a few dozen workers exited the massive STL8 facility Friday afternoon. It’s the second brutal strike at the 900,000-square-foot fulfillment center, where workers also picketed September To protest wages and working conditions. Workers on the site are calling for a $10 an hour raise and better working conditions that they say result in many workers being injured on the job.
The groups participating in the campaign are promoting it on Twitter under the hashtag #MakeAmazonPay. They have a set of demands. Many are calling for higher wages, an end to worker surveillance, and a work pace that results in an above-average rate of workplace injuries.
Actions are also being planned at Whole Foods stores, which are owned by Amazon, and at other locations in Bessemer, Alabama; Columbia, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; Durham, North Carolina; Garner, North Carolina; Joliet, Illinois; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; and Washington, DC
In Germany, workers demonstrated in nine of the 20 warehouses Amazon owns in the country, the company said ReutersAlthough the “vast majority” of staff stated they were business as usual.
In Coventry, England, workers rallied in the evening outside an Amazon facility saying, “We are not robots.”
In Buenos Aires, Argentina, some activists rallied in front of the National Congress building, holding signs reading “Make Amazon Pay.”
Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on the actions.
“On Black Friday, in what has already been called #MakeAmazonPay Day, unions, civil society and progressive elected officials will stand shoulder to shoulder in a massive global day of action to denounce Amazon’s despicable multimillion-dollar campaigns to kill labor-led union efforts,” said Christy Hoffman, general secretary. The UNI Global Federation, a group that has led the protests, said in a statement: “It is time for the tech giant to immediately stop its outrageous and unsafe practices, respect the law and negotiate with workers who want to improve their jobs.”
Among the countries where Amazon is facing strikes and protests, according to UNI: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, South Africa, Turkey and the United Kingdom
Monica De Silvestre, an administrator at Ver.di, a German labor group helping organize the #MakeAmazonPay campaign, said, bloomberg That workers are particularly interested in Amazon using computers to monitor their productivity.
“Workers are under a lot of pressure through these algorithms,” she said. “It does not differentiate between workers, whether they are old or have limited mobility. Workers stay up at night thinking only of their productivity statistics.”
Nearly half of all infections were recorded in US warehouses in 2021 Amazon eventAccording to the Strategic Organization Center which is a coalition of unions.
Amazon employed one-third of all warehouse workers in the United States, but was responsible for nearly half (49%) of all injuries in the warehouse industry, according to the report from the SOC.
Amazon has previously defended its safety record and denied infection rates are higher at the company’s warehouses.
The company faced increasing pressure in the United States from workers seeking to unionize. Earlier this year, a warehouse on New York City’s Staten Island It became the first Amazon fulfillment center to be organized, and other facilities also filed to obtain collective bargaining rights. Recently, workers in an Amazon warehouse were in upstate New York They voted against unions.
Last week, a federal judge ordered Amazon to do just that Stop taking revenge Against employees involved in the activity in the workplace. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed by the National Labor Relations Board, which sued Amazon in March seeking reinstatement of a fired employee who was involved in staging the company’s Staten Island warehouse.
— CBS News’ Irina Ivanova and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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