A new outbreak, but not of the pandemic, but the Amazon operators, has once again taken the dream off from Jeff Bezos. While Jeff Bezos continues to observe how his workers carry out protests and strikes to fight for their rights, in many cases in the reference against climate change.
But this time the protests have been directed at the management of the pandemic by Amazon and within the United States, the country where the company was born.
Last Friday, Amazon technology employees staged a “virtual” strike (remote corporate workers did not register during the day) to protest the company’s management of coronavirus security measures at fulfillment centers.
The action was planned by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice and is also a response and support to the two employees who were fired from Amazon last Tuesday for publicly denouncing their actions around Covid-19.
Now that the world begins to lift the curtain and the containment measures are beginning to relax, Amazon has established itself as an essential company. Since an important part of the planet depends on its delivery services and the services that have been very useful during the confinement.
At the same time, the e-commerce giant has not met the demands of its warehouse employees, who demanded better working conditions.
In early March, Amazon encouraged its salaried tech employees to work remotely in Seattle, while sending its dispatchers to the front lines with very little security against the spread.
The company later announced that drivers diagnosed with Covid-19 and placed in quarantine could apply for a grant to compensate for up to two weeks of work.
The same month, workers at Amazon warehouses in New York left, claiming that the company had not provided them with protective gear. A wave of labor activism followed.
Even in Silicon Valley, an area that had bragged about joining its worker at the company is experiencing its labor movement. Engineers are organizing together with the store porters to demand that Amazon improve working conditions for everyone.
“When warehouse colleagues asked us for support to get better protection against the coronavirus, we knew we had to do something,” Emily Cunningham, one of the fired technology workers, said in a statement last Thursday.
“We are in the midst of the climate crisis and a global pandemic,” added Cunningham. “This is the time to care deeply about each other. We have to do everything we can, to support workers on the front lines, now more than ever. ”
The protests have gone beyond the company and there is already a request from Action Network, a defense organization platform, to ask technology job applicants to reject Amazon job offers as long as they do not comply with the Warehouse workers and delivery drivers’ demands.
The Amazon employee strike is a significant show of support. But inequalities in compensation, benefits, and economic security are visible for the different jobs in the company, which should not be ignored at any cost.
The stakes are high for Amazon storekeepers, whose commitment to forcing a change in the company, most recently through strikes in various countries, has placed them in an even more precarious position.
As these employees, they are excluded from, for example, health insurance. However, Amazon’s tech employees receive six-figure salaries and generous benefits.