Deals, protests during Amazon Prime Day


With Amazon's Prime Day sales event underway, workers as well as labor groups and other activists are calling out the e-commerce giant on issues including work conditions, climate change and its ties to US government moves to deport immigrants.

Warehouse employees in the UK, Germany, and US are organizing protests, calling for better pay and safer working conditions.

Roughly 2,000 Amazon workers in Germany went on strike Sunday night to protest low wages and poor working conditions at the e-commerce giant, according to Verdi, a German union.

He says he thinks the company does a lot to make employees happy and safe.

An Amazon spokesperson pushed back on these claims in a statement to Business insider, saying "These groups are conjuring misinformation to work in their favor, when in fact we already offer the things they purport to be their cause industry-leading pay, benefits, and a safe workplace for our employees". Verdi said the strike could last two days. Prime Day even encourages other companies to offer discounts.

Brady said that "the workers are full-time, but they're still not Amazon employees", also highlighting that the strike isn't due to money issues, but instead over bad work conditions and lack of full-time positions. Workers launched a protest during the annual event, complaining about the company's working conditions and underwhelming pay. Last year, Amazon raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all US employees, and chief executive and founder Jeff Bezos has challenged his retail rivals to do the same.

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In 2018, Amazon workers in the Twin Cities area chanted "yes, we can" in Somali and English at a delivery center and asked management to reduce their workloads during the holy Ramadan fasts. "While Amazon throws huge discounts to its customers on Prime Day, employees lack a living wage", said Verdi retail specialist Orhan Akman.

Part of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, the group in April published an open letter signed by almost 8,000 workers calling out the company for actions including donating "to 68 members of Congress in 2018 who voted against climate legislation 100% of the time".

"The temporary workers are held to the same standards that full-time Amazon employees are held to, but yet they don't have Amazon benefits", said Brady.

Amazon, which raked in $232 billion in sales a year ago, does not itself specify its revenue on Prime Day. Over 2,000 of Amazon's almost 18,000 employees in Germany have participated in the strikes.

Workers in Minnesota also started protesting today.

Brady said that many employees are fearful they could be fired if they speak out and that many can't join the protest because they can't take the time off. Brady herself worries that after Monday, the company could penalize her by making it harder for her to meet her expected rates - or that she could be fired altogether.