Amazon workers across the globe are striking because of grueling production demands, unsafe working conditions, and many other issues during the company’s largest two-day sales event—from July 15 to July 16th—known as Amazon Prime Day.
Amazon released a statement in response to workers striking, claiming, “Events like Prime Day have become an opportunity for our critics, including unions, to raise awareness for their cause, in this case, increased membership dues. 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 (full-time employees at our Shakopee facility make $16.25– $20.80), benefits, and a safe workplace for our employees.”
But many workers within Amazon vehemently disagree with this statement. As reported by Business Insider, an anonymous employee stated, “It is shameful that while Amazon chooses to be the industry leader in so many aspects of their employment policies, and yet continues to allow other aspects of their policies to be worthy of being called ‘inhumane.’”
In the past, Amazon has faced criticism for unsafe and unsanitary working conditions. Many workers have shared their experiences of working at Amazon—claiming that unsafe working conditions resulted in major injuries. For the past two years, Amazon has been named as a part of the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health “dirty dozen”—a list of the top 12 companies in the United States with the most unsafe working conditions.
Amazon had originally intended to open a new headquarters in New York City, but had to change their plans in February following intense backlash from activists and lawmakers in the community.
Unions and labor rights have recently been challenged in the Supreme Court. In 2018, the Supreme Court ruled against public-sector unions in Janus v AFSCME, deciding that unions can no longer collect fees from public employees who opt not to be union members yet are covered by and profit from all of the benefits that unions achieve.
Sources: Feminist Newswire 7/2/18, The Guardian 7/30/18, The Guardian 2/14/19, COSH Network 4/24/19, Business Insider 7/12/19, Quartz 7/15/19, The Independent 7/15/19