Amazon Workers in 20 Countries Plan Black Friday Strike To Protest Wages, Environmental Impact

Make Amazon Pay: rally of employees against CEO Bezos, Berlin, Germany - 24 Apr 2018
KietzmannBjorn / Action Press / Shutterstock.com

Amazon workers around the globe are preparing for protests as part of the Make Amazon Pay campaign for fair wages, the company’s taxes and its impact on the planet. “Amazon is everywhere, involved in almost every step of the global economy, but we are too,” according to the campaign’s website.

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“At every link in this chain of abuse, we are fighting back to Make Amazon Pay. We are workers and activists divided by geography and our role in the global economy but united in our commitment to Make Amazon Pay fair wages, its taxes and for its impact on the planet,” the campaign said.

Workers from 20 countries and organizations including Greenpeace, Oxfam, and Amazon Workers International have listed demands on its website. On Black Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, from oil refineries, to factories, to warehouses, to data centers, to corporate offices in countries across the world, workers and activists are rising up in strikes, protests and actions to Make Amazon Pay, it added.

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The coalition says that during the pandemic, Amazon became a trillion dollar corporation, with [CEO Jeff] Bezos becoming the first person in history to amass $200 billion in personal wealth.

“Meanwhile, Amazon warehouse workers risked their lives as essential workers, and only briefly received an increase in pay,” according to the website. “As Amazon’s corporate empire expands, so too has its carbon footprint, which is larger than two thirds of all countries in the world. Amazon’s growing delivery and cloud computer businesses are accelerating global climate breakdown.” The coalition added that in 2019, Amazon paid just 1.2% tax in the U.S., the country it is headquartered in, up from 0% the two previous years.

The list of demands include improving the workplace; provide job security to all; respect workers’ universal rights; operate sustainably; and pay back to society.

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Make Amazon Pay was launched a year ago as 50 organizations came together to deliver a set of common demands, and this year’s actions are set to be much larger with strikes and protests planned in multiple cities in at least 20 countries across every inhabited continent on earth, according to a press release. Planned actions include: a massive Amazon delivery driver strike in Italy; a work stoppage across Amazon warehouses in France; demonstrations at the construction site of new Amazon regional offices in South Africa; and garment worker protests across Bangladesh and Cambodia, Vice reported.

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In the United States, the Athena Coalition will be holding digital and in-person #MakeAmazonPay actions targeting Whole Foods and Amazon, a town hall about the future of worker organizing in California and a worker panel in Illinois on supply chain disruptions, according to Vice.

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Vice reported that Black Friday and Cyber Monday mark Amazon’s biggest sales events of the year, but for Amazon’s warehouse workers and delivery drivers, it means increased quotas, longer workdays and a higher risk of injury. Between Black Friday and Christmas, warehouse worker injuries spike, according to a 2019 report by the Reveal Center for Investigative Reporting.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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