WORKERS FIGHT AGAINST BIG TECH

‘They track our every move’: why the cards were stacked against a union at Amazon

Michael Walker

The Conversation | April 23, 2021

“Working at an Amazon warehouse is no easy thing. The shifts are long. The pace is super-fast. You are constantly being watched and monitored. They seem to think you are just another machine.”

So testified Jennifer Bates before a US Senate Budget Committee hearing into income and wealth inequality on March 17. Less than a month later her co-workers at Amazon’s fulfilment centre in Bessemer, Alabama, voted 1,798 to 738 against allowing the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union into their workplace to represent them.Read More »

WORKERS FIGHT AGAINST AMAZON

The BAmazon Loss and the Road Ahead

Joe DeManuelle-Hall

Labor Notes | April 14, 2021

The election loss is a setback, but it shouldn’t be understood as a failed test of whether or not Amazon can be organized. The history of the union movement in the U.S. is full of losses that came before big wins. Photo: Joe Piette (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
What can union activists across the country take away from the high-profile defeat in the union vote at Amazon in Alabama?

The National Labor Relations Board announced April 9 that workers at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Bessemer, near Birmingham, had voted against joining the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union.

The tally was 71 percent no to 29 percent yes—though it’s possible the actual split was closer to 60-40, if you consider the large number of ballots that were cast but never counted because they were challenged by the company.Read More »

WORKERS ORGANIZE 

Counting underway for historic union vote at Alabama’s Amazon unit

Anish R M

People’s Dispatch | March 31, 2021

Locals and residents of Bessemer came out in support of the unionization drive by Amazon workers on March 20. Photo: Liberation

After more than seven weeks of ballot submissions, the workers at Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse in Alabama submitted their final votes on Monday, March 29, to decide whether or not they want a union. On Tuesday, March 30, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) began the count of over 5,800 ballots, the results of which could take the next couple of days to be released.

The unionization drive has grabbed national limelight over the past two months, not only because of the historical nature of the vote and the impact it could have on union organizing across the country, but also because it revealed the abysmal work culture at one of the United States’ largest employers. At the same time, the campaign unlike previous campaigns for unionizing Amazon workers managed to attract nationwide solidarity and support.Read More »

FACE OF A POLITICS

FACE OF A POLITICS: Purchasing political favor in U.S.: Facebook and Amazon outspend largest tobacco and oil giants

A Journal of People report

j fb amazon

Facebook and Amazon now outspend the largest tobacco and oil giants in purchasing political favor, says a new report. It shows that big tech’s influence over government has grown between the last two U.S. election cycles.

According to a new report by Public Citizen, a progressive nonprofit group, Facebook and Amazon are now the two biggest corporate lobbying spenders in the U.S.

Facebook spent nearly $20 million during the 2020 election cycle while Amazon spent just under $19 million. Following them were telecoms giant Comcast, a third place, with $14.4 million, which is ahead of a slew of weapons manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Raytheon.Read More »

CAPITALISM 

Bernie asks Jeff Bezos: You are worth $182 billion … why are you doing everything in your power to stop your workers from unionizing?

A Journal of People report

amazon union

At a hearing on March 17, 2021, Sen. Bernie Sanders spoke critically about Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who declined Sanders’ invitation to testify, and Elon Musk, the two wealthiest men.

“Bezos and Musk now own more wealth than the bottom 40%. Meanwhile, we’re looking at more hunger in America than at any time in decades,” Sanders said in his opening remarks at the Senate Budget Committee hearing, which was titled The Income and Wealth Inequality Crisis in America.

“If he was with us this morning, I would ask him the following question … Mr. Bezos, you are worth $182 billion – that’s a B,” Sanders said. “One hundred eighty-two billion dollars, you’re the wealthiest person in the world. Why are you doing everything in your power to stop your workers in Bessemer, Alabama, from joining a union?”Read More »

BIG TECH’S THEFT 

Corporate Thieves: Amazon Stole $62 Million of Tips From Delivery Drivers

Karl Engels

People’s World | February 03, 2021

Corporate thieves: Amazon stole $62 million of tips from delivery drivers

In this March 31, 2020, photo, Samuel Diaz, a contract delivery driver for Amazon, loads his own vehicle with groceries from Whole Foods, in Miami. In a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, Amazon has agreed to pay back nearly $62 million in tips that it stole from delivery drivers. | Lynne Sladky / AP

If you read the headlines in the corporate press on Tuesday, you would have encountered stories about how Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, had reached a settlement with the government after being accused of “withholding” tips from its contract delivery drivers.

The Chicago Tribune talked about how the company “didn’t pass on” tips left by customers. In the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon big boss Jeff Bezos, the company was alleged to have “shortchanged” drivers—conjuring an image of an absentminded cashier who miscounted your pennies and nickels.

These were nothing but attempts to dress up the single ugly fact: a $1.6-trillion-dollar company stole from its employees and got caught.Read More »

BEZOS’ SALARY

Bezos Earns More in One Second than Amazon Worker Makes in Two Months

Peter Lazenby

Morning Star | December 18, 2020

AMAZON boss Jeff Bezos is paid more for one second than his warehouse workers earn in two months, analysis by the TUC revealed today.

The research shows that it would take an Amazon warehouse worker, typically on £9.50 an hour, more than eight weeks – or 284 hours based on a 35-hour week – to make what their chief executive pockets in a single second – estimated at roughly £2,700.

Mr Bezos is now paid over one million times more than the workers who create Amazon’s profits, according to the figures.Read More »

AMAZON IS WATCHING

Amazon Allegedly Hired Investigators to Spy on Warehouse Strike, Spanish Union Reports

Morning Star | December 05, 2020

ONLINE retail giant Amazon could face a legal battle with a Spanish workers’ union following a report that it hired private investigators to infiltrate and secretly observe a strike.

Spanish news site El Diario revealed this week that private detectives spied on a warehouse workers’ strike near Barcelona on Black Friday last year.Read More »

MONOPOLIES IN CAPITALISM

Empire of High Technology: Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook Achieve ‘Monopoly Power’

C. J. Atkins

People’s World | October 07, 2020

Empire of High Technology: Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook achieve ‘monopoly power’

A new report from the House Judiciary Committee says that the four digital giants Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Google have achieved ‘monopoly power’ in their industries and should be broken up. Here, people participate in a giant game of Monopoly at an event in 2013. | Rick Rycroft / AP

In the middle of the last century, Marxist economist Victor Perlo described the U.S. economy as an “empire of high finance.” If he were writing today, he’d probably update his assessment to say U.S. capitalism has also become an “empire of high technology.”

The U.S. House Judiciary subcommittee on antitrust essentially dances around that conclusion in a new 450-page report released Oct. 6 which declares that the digital giants Amazon, Facebook, Apple, and Alphabet (Google) have achieved “monopoly power” in a variety of sectors. The report recommends a range of reforms, including breaking up the tech conglomerates.

The indictment of Big Tech is the product of a 16-month-long investigation that surveyed over a million documents, conducted dozens of interviews, and held seven hearings. The report presents extensive evidence concerning the extent to which the companies “have exploited, entrenched, and expanded their power over digital markets in anticompetitive and abusive ways.”Read More »

WORKERS UNDER TECH GIANTS

Under Pressure, Amazon Reveals Over 20,000 Employees Likely Contracted COVID

Alan Macleod

MintPress News | October 02, 2020

Amazon augmented reality Feature photo

It announced the figure in the middle of a public relations statement detailing the measures it was taking to try to keep its employees safe from the virus. The company presented itself as a proactive and responsible business. “As part of this commitment, we’ve decided to publicly share the COVID-19 infection rates among Amazon front-line employees—something few if any companies and no other major retailers have done,” noted its blog post. It also claimed to be carrying out thousands of tests a day on its staff and noted that, despite the large figure of 19,816 cases, that represented a smaller percentage of positive tests than the general population. However, Amazon did not include any of its third-party delivery contractors in the figures, who number in the many tens of thousands, at least. Nor was there any confirmation on the number of deaths.Read More »