Amazon Workers Planning Black Friday Strike

By Kristi Eckert | 1 week ago

black friday strike

It’s no secret that Amazon has a bad reputation for how they treat their employees. In a now-infamous report first put out by CNBC, Amazon delivery drivers revealed that it is not uncommon for them to relieve themselves in plastic bottles because their schedules are so demanding that they don’t even have time to stop and use the restroom. Considering that, amongst other questionable acts like concealing COVID case information from Amazon employees in California, it doesn’t come as a surprise that Amazon workers are planning a worldwide Black Friday strike. 

As reported by CNET, a group of workers, activists, and labor organizations called Make Amazon Pay is calling for a worldwide strike to occur on Black Friday to take a stand against workplace conditions and low wages, as well as to urge Amazon to play more of an active part in helping to prevent the progression of climate change. At this point, 20 countries are on board for the Black Friday Strike, among them are the United States, Germany, and India. 

Make Amazon Pay asserted that they are primarily calling for the Black Friday strike against Amazon because the Pandemic served to bring a whole host of concerning issues to the forefront. “The pandemic has exposed how Amazon places profits ahead of workers, society, and our planet. Amazon takes too much and gives back too little. It is time to Make Amazon Pay,” wrote the association in their demands document.

The Black Friday strike demands document split Make Amazon Pay’s requests into five distinct categories. Those categories include improving upon the workplace, job security, respect for workers’ rights, sustainability, and paying back society. Under the umbrella of each category, the specific requests that Make Amazon Pay is asking for are clearly laid out. The document outlines the obvious asks like increases in pay, ensuring that employees get adequate breaks, and providing unwavering job security to all of its hires by eliminating contracts or temporary employment. However, it also asks for Amazon to pay its debts to society by improving upon consumer privacy and eliminating devices or device components that promote “mass surveillance.” 

strikes

Kelly Nantel, a spokesperson for Amazon responded to the coalition calling for the Black Friday strike in a statement that acknowledged that Amazon is not perfect and that it can continue to improve but highlighted “…if you objectively look at what Amazon is doing in each one of these areas you’ll see that we do take our role and our impact very seriously.” Amazon has maintained that they have already been addressing Make Amazon Pay’s concerns and have been making significant headway in all the areas that they have called for. 

If the Black Friday strike does happen as planned it will mark the second consecutive time that Amazon workers went on strike on Black Friday. The 2020 walkout occurred over similar issues, particularly pertaining to the obscene amount of revenue that Amazon generated because of the pandemic and how the company, with all of its wealth, did not give any of it back to the employees who had been risking their lives helping Amazon to make all the money that it did.

Whether or not Amazon does end up delivering on the things that Make Amazon Pay is asking is something that remains to be seen. However, if nothing else, the Black Friday strike will serve to emphasize the disproportionality in the amount of revenue Amazon brings in versus how much they pay their employees, as well as the infractions they have committed that violate public privacy and harm the environment.