Amazon warehouse employees in 40 countries stage a global strike on Black Friday

Thousands of Amazon warehouse employees are now on strike in 40 countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Germany, over salary and working conditions.

Make Amazon Pay called for the global strike action on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. The protests and actions are named “Make Amazon Pay Day.”The global strike action for one of the biggest shopping days of the year was called for by the campaign group Make Amazon Pay. It has titled the protests 'Make Amazon Pay Day' (file image)

The movement, pushed by organizations on Twitter under the hashtag #MakeAmazonPay, enumerated the planned industrial action in forty nations throughout the world.

As part of the demonstrations, employees in a corporate workhouse in St. Peters, Missouri will cease working today, and Whole Foods outlets operated by Amazon will also engage in labor actions. In addition to Bessemer, Alabama; Columbia, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; Durham, North Carolina; Garner; Joliet, Illinois; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; and Washington, D.C., there will be action.

Make Amazon Pay called for the global strike action on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. The title of their rallies and actions is “Make Amazon Pay Day” (file image)

Today, Amazon employees and activists will march in front of the New York City mansion of the company’s billionaire owner, Jeff Bezos.

French CGT union members demonstrate in front of the Amazon logistics center near Paris today, pictured

In a statement, Christy Hoffman, general secretary of UNI Global Union, said: ‘On Black Friday, which has already been dubbed #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 worker-led union efforts.

It is time for the internet giant to immediately quit their bad, harmful practices, comply with the law, and talk with the employees who want to improve their careers.

In the past, Amazon has been criticized for its harsh working conditions, including long hours and limited bathroom breaks. Amazon’s Innovation Hub in Westborough, Massachusetts, on November 10

In the past, Amazon has been criticized for its harsh working conditions, including long hours and limited bathroom breaks.

A protest over conditions and pay at an Amazon warehouse near Paris today, pictured

Additionally, the corporation has been criticized for its injury rate. In 2021, Amazon was responsible for over half of warehouse-related injuries in the United States.

According to the Strategic Organizing Center, a consortium of labor organizations, this is the case.

According to the research, Amazon employed one-third of all warehouse employees in the United States, but was responsible for over half (49%) of all warehouse industry accidents.

In the past, Amazon has defended its safety record and refuted concerns regarding warehouse accident rates.

Also today, Amazon employees and activists will march in front of the New York City mansion of billionaire firm owner Jeff Bezos (file image)

Some dissatisfied Amazon employees wish to unionize due to the working conditions. Workers in a warehouse on Staten Island, New York City, became the first Amazon facility to take this action.A member of Hawkers Joint Action Committee hangs up a poster during a protest by Gig Workers Association (GigWA) in association with Amazon Warehouse workers in New Delhi today

Additionally, several warehouses have filed for collective bargaining rights. A federal court ordered Amazon to cease taking action against employees who participate in workplace action last week.

In a court lawsuit initiated by the National Labor Relations Board, the judge issued the verdict. They had sued Amazon in March and demanded the reinstatement of an employee who had been sacked for establishing a union on Staten Island.

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 are also affected by strikes and demonstrations.

French CGT union members demonstrate in front of the Amazon logistics center in Bretigny-sur-Orge, near Paris, as part of a global day of actions against Amazon, pictured

United States workers have also sought unionization. In a facility in Staten Island, New York City, the first Amazon workers to unionize were located. Pictured: Christian Smalls, leader of the Amazon Labor Union, addresses a demonstration outside the company’s Staten Island, New York, headquarters.

According to the Verdi union, work stoppages were planned at ten fulfillment centers in Germany.

The union asked that Amazon accept collective bargaining agreements for the retail and mail-order trade sector, as well as a collective agreement on safe and healthy working conditions.

Verdi’s spokeswoman for Amazon employees, Monika di Silvestre, stated, ‘This is the first time Amazon has held a worldwide strike day.

She continued, “This is really significant because a huge multinational organization like Amazon cannot be taken on locally, regionally, or nationally.”

A representative for Amazon stated, ‘These groups represent a range of interests, and while we are not perfect in every area, if you look objectively at what Amazon is doing about these significant issues, you will see that we take our position and our influence very seriously. We are innovating and investing significantly in all of these areas, including, but not limited to, addressing climate change with the Climate Pledge commitment to be carbon neutral by 2040, continuing to offer competitive wages and great benefits, and innovating new ways to keep our employees safe and healthy in our operations network. Anyone may take a tour of one of our locations to see for themselves.’

A leaked internal memo indicated in June that Amazon might run out of workers to hire by 2024, with the corporation consuming its entire warehouse crew annually due to punishing workloads, prompting the strike action.Amazon has come under fire over tough working conditions in the past - including grueling hours and timed toilet breaks. Pictured: Amazon's Innovation Hub in Westborough on November 10

According to the Verdi union, work stoppages were planned at ten fulfillment centers in Germany. Pictured: In 2020, workers at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island went on strike to demand that the facility be shut down and cleaned after a member of staff tested positive for the coronavirus in New York (file image)

The letter, which was originally obtained by Recode, states, “If we continue business as usual, Amazon will exhaust the available labor supply in the United States network by 2024.”

In 2021, the document was released internally. According to Recode, a spokeswoman for Amazon did not dispute its veracity.

A member of Hawkers Joint Action Committee participates in a protest by Gig Workers Association (GigWA) in association with Amazon Warehouse workers in New Delhi today

Inland Empire, California, an hour and a half east of Los Angeles, is predicted to be the region with the lowest number of available workers. 20 million prospective Amazon consumers are around two hours’ travel from the region.

Amazon might run out of new workers in the Inland Empire by the end of 2021 or in 2022, according to the memo, however Inland Empire facilities continue to function and it is unclear if they are experiencing any staffing challenges.

Mesa, Arizona was expected to run out of workers as well, given that Amazon, infamous for its harsh, tightly-controlled warehouse working conditions, loses more workers than it employs each year.

Andy Jassy, the CEO of Amazon, stated that employee safety is the company’s top concern.

According to the Washington Post, for each 100 Amazon employees in 2020, six were hurt.

The research revealed that Wilmington, Delaware and Memphis, Tennessee were also at risk of personnel shortages.

Last year, according to Amazon’s own figures, the company’s attrition rate was 123%.

In other words, the number of employees that departed the company throughout the course of the year was equal to the whole workforce at the beginning of the year plus an extra 23%.

Many Amazon employees remain longer, especially those in more senior positions. Others, however, arrive and depart within a year, so increasing the attrition rate.

Amazon employs around one million people in the United States, including employees at its headquarters, making it the second largest private employer behind Walmart’s “family” of 2.3 million.

Its turnover rate is significantly higher than the national average for the most prevalent positions at Amazon, including warehouse work and transportation.

In 2019 and 2020, the national average for warehouse and transportation attrition was 46% and 59%, respectively.

In retail, the average for 2019 was 58% and for 2020 it will be 70%.

According to the Washington Post, for each 100 Amazon employees in 2020, six were hurt.

At a September interview with CNBC, the company’s CEO Andy Jassy stated, “For us, employee safety in our fulfillment centers is our top priority.”

In July of 2021, Jassy replaced founder Jeff Bezos as CEO.

The New York Times says that in the years preceding Covid-19, Amazon lost employees at a rate of 3% every week and had an annual turnover rate of 150%.

Amazon’s contentious hiring practices and worker health and safety are among the numerous causes for the potential shortage of labor.

Here is a photo of Jose Pagan, who claims he was dismissed electronically after taking two days off to treat an infected tooth.

The Recode piece relays a tale about an Amazon supervisor from The Bronx, New York.

Jose Pagan, 35, who supported his wife and children with his Amazon pay, said that he was sacked after skipping work to heal an infected tooth.

Pagan stated that he was terminated because he did not have sufficient notice to use vacation days and did not have sufficient unpaid time off remaining.

He went on to add that the corporation did not care that he had a doctor’s letter.

Pagan worked for a whole week following his health concerns before discovering that he had been sacked when he discovered that his keycard no longer functioned.

Then, he was informed that he was no longer employed by the firm.

Pagan approached an HR official, who informed him that the firm would welcome him back in 90 days and that he should seek employment as a driver with Uber or Grubhub in the meanwhile.

At the time of his dismissal, Pagan was about to be promoted.

One former manager stated, “It was nearly impossible to be terminated as an employee.”

In an April 2022 internal message to Amazon workers, Jassy stated that there is no “silver bullet” to miraculously make Amazon facilities secure.

Despite several claims of arbitrary terminations, a former manager at Amazon’s Phoenix facility told Recode that the culture is now more focused on retaining employees owing to high turnover rates.

Michael Garrigan stated, “They were so anxious about attrition and personnel loss that they scaled back all the policies that we had to follow as managers.”

Garrigan stated that supervisors joked about avoiding issuing fines to employees because HR would “exempt it.”

He stated, “It was nearly difficult to be fired as an employee.”

CBS News says that Jassy stated in an internal message to Amazon staff in April 2022 that there is no “silver bullet” to make Amazon facilities suddenly secure.

Jassy replied in part: ‘We don’t aspire to be typical. We want to be the finest in our field. We have a long way to go.’

While in December 2021, a tornado devastated the Amazon factory in Edwardsville, Illinois, killing six employees.

Survivors of the storm filed a lawsuit against the building company that constructed the facility. In it, the plaintiffs said that there was no suitable shelter inside, as reported by KMOV in May 2022.

Business Insider reported that following the tornado, Amazon disputed accusations made by employees at the Edwardsville distribution center that the business prohibited them from using their cell phones at work.

According to the advocacy organization More Perfect Union, two workers died within 24 hours of one other at the company’s Bessemer, Alabama factory.

HR declined one of the deceased men’s request to return home, according to the organization. He suffered a deadly stroke on the job hours later.

The organization asserts that six employees perished at the Bessemer plant in 2021 and that Amazon concealed the fatalities.

Amazon refutes these claims.

CNBC reported in April 2022 that Amazon was suspected of improperly seeking to influence a failed unionization vote at the Bessemer site.


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