Amazon workers strike as ‘Prime’ shopping frenzy hits

Tue, 2019-07-16 02:49

SAN FRANCISCO: Amazon workers walked out of a main distribution
center in Minnesota on Monday, protesting for improved working
conditions during the e-commerce titan’s major “Prime”
shopping event.
Amazon workers picketed outside the facility, briefly delaying a
few trucks and waving signs with messages along the lines of
“We’re human, not robots.”
“We know Prime Day is a big day for Amazon, so we hope this
strike will help executives understand how serious we are about
wanting real change that will uplift the workers in Amazon’s
warehouses,” striker Safiyo Mohamed said in a release.
“We create a lot of wealth for Amazon, but they aren’t treating
us with the respect and dignity that we deserve.”
Organizers did not disclose the number of strikers, who said
employees picketed for about an hour in intense heat before cutting
the protest short due to the onset of heavy rain.
The strike was part of an ongoing effort to pressure the company on
issues including job safety, equal opportunity in the workplace,
and concrete action on issues including climate change, according
to community organization Awood Center.
US Democratic presidential contenders Kamila Harris and Bernie
Sanders were among those who expressed support for the strikers on
“I stand in solidarity with the courageous Amazon workers
engaging in a work stoppage against unconscionable working
conditions in their warehouses,” Sanders said in a tweet.
“It is not too much to ask that a company owned by the wealthiest
person in the world treat its workers with dignity and
Amazon employees also went on strike at seven locations in Germany,
demanding better wages as the US online retail giant launched its
two-day global shopping discount extravaganza called Prime Day.
Amazon had said in advance that the strike would not affect
deliveries to customers.
Amazon has consistently defended work conditions, contending it is
a leader when it comes to paying workers at least $15 hourly and
providing benefits.
The company last week announced plans to offer job training to
around one-third of its US workforce to help them gain skills to
adapt to new technologies.
Amazon has been hustling to offer one-day deliver on a wider array
of products as a perk for paying $119 annually to be a member of
its “Prime” service, which includes streaming films and
television shows.
The work action came on the opening day of a major “Prime”
shopping event started in 2015.
Now in 17 countries, the event will span Monday and Tuesday,
highlighted by a pre-recorded Taylor Swift video concert and
promotions across a range of products and services from the
e-commerce leader.
Prime Day sales for Amazon are expected to hit $5 billion this
year, up from $3.2 billion in 2018, which at the time represented
its biggest ever global shopping event, JP Morgan analyst Doug
Anmuth says in a research note.

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Amazon workers strike as ‘Prime’ shopping frenzy hits