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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Boycott Amazon Campaign Surveillance Capitalism

Amazon’s MGM using Ring doorbell video surveillance in Film

There’s a petition campaign against it from Daily Kos:

Amazon’s MGM Studios are taking advantage of surveillance footage from Ring cameras for a new reality TV show. The show will feature footage entirely from Amazon’s Ring system and is a blatant attempt to normalize Amazon’s shady surveillance tactics by making those tactics appear “family friendly.”

Sign the petition to MGM: Cancel Ring Nation.

SIGN THE PETITION

Millions of people— including users, their families, and casual bystanders—are surveilled daily by Ring cameras. Our whereabouts are tracked. The things we do and say are recorded. This amassed data can be–and has been–shared with local police departments and their partners in government agencies. It’s important to recognize such devices for the surveillance power they have.

It’s irresponsible for MGM to promote dangerous surveillance devices, like Ring, as family-friendly entertainment. Ring is not safe for families or anyone else. By canceling Ring Nation, you will help protect our privacy and show solidarity for Black and brown people and abortion seekers, people most threatened by over-surveillance.

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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Surveillance Capitalism

FTC Probes Amazon’s Monopolistic Acquisitions

https://www.vice.com/en/article/n7z33d/shocking-ftc-tries-doing-its-job-investigates-amazon-acquisitions

Shocking: FTC Tries Doing Its Job, Investigates Amazon Acquisitions

The FTC has scrutinized numerous Amazon purchases and launched antitrust probes into the company’s operations since Lina Khan took charge of the agency.

Excerpt:

The Federal Trade Commission is investigating Amazon’s plans to acquire two companies: vacuum maker iRobot and healthcare company One Medical. The Wall Street Journal reported that on Friday, a Securities and Exchange Commission filing by One Medical’s owner, 1Life, revealed the FTC requested additional information about the deal from One Medical and Amazon.

These are just the latest of Amazon’s acquisitions to fall under FTC scrutiny. Earlier this year, the FTC sought to review the acquisition of MGM Studios on grounds it could be anticompetitive. Though the deal closed in March, the FTC warned it could still block the deal.

In August, Amazon filed a complaint with the FTC about an ongoing antitrust probe of its Prime subscription program, claiming it has become “unduly burdensome.” Last year in June, Amazon begged the FTC to recuse Chairwoman Lina Khan from antitrust investigations into the company, citing her legal scholarship as bias that might prevent an “open mind” to its pro-monopoly arguments.

Comment: Not content with its enormous monopsony power, Amazon is also seeking monopoly power as well. Both i-Robot’s roomba and the One Medical operation also would vastly increase Amazon’s control of Big Data it can mine for all its other retail and production operations. [Wikipedia defines monopsony as: In economics, a monopsony is a market structure in which a single buyer substantially controls the market as the major purchaser of goods and services offered by many would-be sellers. The microeconomic theory of monopsony assumes a single entity to have market power over all sellers as the only purchaser of a good or service. This is a similar power to that of a monopolist, which can influence the price for its buyers in a monopoly, where multiple buyers have only one seller of a good or service available to purchase from.]

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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Labor actions

Walkout at Amazon Air Hub in San Bernardino

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/08/15/amazon-air-hub-walkout-labor-union/

Excerpt:

Dozens of Amazon employees at the company’s air hub in San Bernardino, Calif., on Monday abandoned their workstations mid-shift over low wages and concerns regarding heat safety.

The walkout in Southern California marks the first coordinated labor action in Amazon’s growing airfreight division, which uses Prime-branded planes to fly packages and goods around the country much like UPS or FedEx. The employees, who are independently organized, said they didn’t plan to return to work on Monday, in an effort to pressure Amazon to raise wages and improve safety.

[pictured above, leaders of Inland Empire Amazon Workers United, Sara Fee, left, Daniel Rivera and Melissa Ojeda]

Organizers said more than 150 people walked out Monday afternoon, and managers had already slowed some operations in anticipation of the action. While a small fraction of the 1,500 employees who work at the hub in various shifts walked out, such a work stoppage can create logistical headaches and disruptions.
Here’s their walk-out video as posted on twitter:
https://twitter.com/ieamazonworkers/status/1559344242517893122
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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Boycott Amazon Campaign Labor actions

Amazon Plan to Control Workers: Hire Only ‘the Vulnerable’

https://peoplesworld.org/article/secret-amazon-memo-exposes-plan-to-hire-only-the-vulnerable/

Excerpt:

In a memo leaked to Recode, Amazon honchos said it would hire students from poor households and people just let out of jail after finishing their sentences. The implication is they would be desperate for jobs and join Amazon. Unable to afford advancement through college, for example, they would be trapped into remaining at Amazon. The memo says that those “vulnerable adult workers would become pro-company speakers.”

And for California the Amazon memo envisions a “school to warehouse pipeline”—their words—to funnel young L.A. high schoolers and community college grads into its monster facilities. Amazon also proposed eliminating its employment interviewers’ questions to job applicants about pot use. The racist implication is that minority youth using the drug would be even more vulnerable and prone to super exploitation.

The memo also calls upon Amazon to launch a PR campaign designed to ingratiate itself with community groups. And Amazon would shine up its image by supporting organizations that campaign for social change, such as better schools and job opportunities for ex-inmates.

… The memo characterizes both groups as “vulnerable people” open to an Amazon message of immediate jobs. According to the Amazon plan,  they then become company defenders against the union.

The memo admitted Amazon began with two big disadvantages: Negative perceptions of its impact on communities and local businesses and its low pay. Though the memo did not say so, the negative impact resulted in civic defeats of Amazon warehouse construction projects not just in Southern California but in Colorado, New York City, and elsewhere.

 

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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Boycott Amazon Campaign Surveillance Capitalism

Surveillance Nation: From Amazon to the NSA

https://covertactionmagazine.com/2022/07/27/covertaction-bulletin-surveillance-nation-from-amazon-to-the-nsa/

Excerpt:

Amazon wants to be your retailer, educator, grocery store, security system, bank and now your healthcare provider: A few days ago, reports came out that the tech giant is looking to buy One Medical for $4 billion, its latest foray into the healthcare business. At the same time, Amazon provides law enforcement with easy access to massive amounts of data and the tools to parse it.

Of course it’s not just Amazon: Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Twitter and every big tech company obey the basic law of capitalism: grow or perish. They all rely on one shared resource: our data. And they all cozy up to the U.S. government when it comes to information sharing.

Meanwhile, agencies like the CIA and NSA, plus lesser-known ones like the National Reconnaissance Office, regularly spy on people across the globe with flimsy legal pretext. In the digital age, what was once led by the government is more and more relying on partnerships with private big data companies.

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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Boycott Amazon Campaign Labor actions

Amazon Workers in Motion

https://world-outlook.com/2022/07/12/amazon-workers-in-motion/

Excerpt:

About 4,000 unionists from across the country and 200 international guests from around the world attended the Labor Notes conference the weekend of June 17–19 in Chicago. …A conference panel titled “Amazon Workers in Motion” highlighted some of the union organizing efforts that mark new developments in the U.S. labor movement. Among the most important is the Amazon Labor Union’s (ALU) stunning April 1 victory in the union election at JFK8, Amazon’s giant fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York. The panel brought together four Amazon workers from four different geographic regions, each with its own history and demographics. These union organizers shared their experiences while outlining differing views on strategy and tactics.

Pictured above on the panel:  From left: Moderator Bianca Cunningham; Chris Zamarron, a cofounder of Amazonians United (AU); Rev. Ryan Brown, President of the Carolina Amazonians United for Solidarity and Empowerment (CAUSE); Angelika Maldonado, Amazon Labor Union (ALU) interim vice president; and Isaiah Thomas, a dock worker at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, and member of the BAmazon organizing committee, affiliated with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). (Photo: Screenshot from panel video, courtesy Labor Notes).

Video of this panel is available online here.

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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Boycott Amazon Campaign Surveillance Capitalism

Amazon Turns RING videos in to cops without consent

https://www.politico.com/news/2022/07/13/amazon-gave-ring-videos-to-police-without-owners-permission-00045513

Ring, which Amazon bought in 2018, has repeatedly said that police can’t view recordings unless clips are posted publicly or shared directly with police, though that doesn’t apply to police subpoenas and emergency requests. While the company’s policy has said this information can be shared without a user’s consent, this letter is the first time the company has confirmed that it has handed over this information. (Map above shows ring installations connected to law enforcement.)

It’s a data point that is likely to only heighten Congressional scrutiny of the tech giant, which lawmakers have already upbraided over its privacy practices, after its facial recognition service Rekognition falsely associated 28 members of Congress with criminal mugshots in 2018 and how its Echo Dot Kids Edition protected children’s privacy.

The company is also facing antitrust concerns over its dominance across online retail, and its treatment of the third-party sellers that use its platform.

Ring doorbells, in particular, raise privacy concerns because of their popularity, Amazon’s agreements with police, and Amazon’s growing technological capabilities. In 2020, Ring responded to a letter from five senators and revealed that four employees improperly accessed Ring video data.

Amazon currently has agreements to let 2,161 police departments across the country use an app called Neighbors where users post Ring camera footage and leave comments. Police can use the app to send alerts and request videos.

In 2021, the Electronic Frontier Foundation reported that police in Los Angeles requested Ring footage recording Black Lives Matter protests.

“As my ongoing investigation into Amazon illustrates, it has become increasingly difficult for the public to move, assemble, and converse in public without being tracked and recorded,” Markey said in a statement.

While Congress is mulling over a federal data privacy law, the proposed bill wouldn’t cover Ring sharing data with police, as it allows for exceptions in cases where a company needs to comply with law enforcement agencies.

Categories
Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Labor actions Surveillance Capitalism

Every Move You Make-Amazon is Watching You

https://www.vice.com/en/article/5dgn73/internal-documents-show-amazons-dystopian-system-for-tracking-workers-every-minute-of-their-shifts

Excerpt:

Infamously, Amazon punishes and sometimes fires warehouse workers who it believes are wasting time at work. A new filing obtained by Motherboard gives detailed insight into how Amazon tracks and records every minute of “time off task” (which it calls TOT) with radio-frequency handheld scanners that warehouse associates use to track customer packages.

The documents, filed with the National Labor Relations Board as part of a dispute at the recently-unionized Amazon warehouse in Staten Island called JFK8, reveal that workers can receive a written warning for accumulating 30 minutes of time off task in a day one time in a rolling one year period. They can be fired if they accumulate 120 minutes of time off task in a single day or if they have accumulated 30 minutes of time off task on three separate days in a one year period. Examples and sample spreadsheets provided in the documents show Amazon tracking, down to the minute, the amount of time individual workers spent in the bathroom and infractions such as “talking to another Amazon associate,” going to the wrong floor of a warehouse, and, as an example, an unaccounted for 11-minute period where a worker “does not remember” what they were doing.
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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Boycott Amazon Campaign Labor actions Surveillance Capitalism

Exposing the Harms of AWS

Exposing AWS Rally in D.C.

Tuesday May 24, 11:30 AM Eastern Time

Walter E. Washington Convention Center

801 Mt Vernon Pl NW, Washington DC

Despite being a seemingly invisible force, Amazon has inflicted immeasurable harm on Black and Brown communities by supporting and colluding with state violence. Join us on Tuesday May 24, 11:30am-1pm in DC to help expose AWS at Amazon’s (AWS) Summit. We will be there, to demand an end to the harms of Amazon in our communities, including through the surveillance of workers and providing tech for pol(ice), prisons, and apartheid.

We’ll be hosting an art installation outside of the Convention Center to shed light on Amazon’s harms and to galvanize our community to rally and resist Amazon. Join us to tell this megacorporation that we reject their violence!

**ICYMI** Check out last night’s teach-in on AWS’ harms! We learned a lot from great speakers including Myaisha Hayes (MediaJustice), Aly Panjwani (ACRE), and Paromita Shah (Just Futures Law). Learn more about the Northern Virginia Coalition here https://www.facebook.com/ForUsNotAmazon/ https://HQtoo.com and here https://forusnotamazon.org/

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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Boycott Amazon Campaign Labor actions

Amazon Warehouses Injuring More Workers

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2022/04/amazon-workers-injury-rates-warehouse-accidents-safety

Excerpt:

“Our injury rates are sometimes misunderstood,” wrote Amazon CEO Andy Jassy in a recent letter to shareholders. Asserting that the company’s incident rates are “a little higher” than the warehouse industry average, Jassy states that the company nonetheless has room for improvement, and is “dissecting every process path” to lower the rates.

It’s a bold obfuscation. Contra Jassy’s assertions, Amazon’s well-established problem of grinding down its ever-expanding workforce has only gotten more dire, even as the company claims that it seeks to become “Earth’s Safest Place to Work.”

The numbers Jassy uses in his letter are misleading. He writes that Amazon’s warehouse workers are injured at a rate of 6.4 per 100 workers, compared to the industry average of 5.5 per 100 workers. But those are the numbers from 2020 rather than 2021. Last year’s numbers are worse: according to a recent report from the union coalition Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), the total injury rate among Amazon workers in 2021 was 7.9 per 100 workers, a sharp increase from 2020.

Further, comparing Amazon’s rate to the industry average fails to account for the fact that Amazon employs around one-third of all warehouse workers in the United States; much better to compare Amazon’s rate to that of all non-Amazon warehouses. The SOC report does so, finding the serious injury rate at Amazon is more than twice as high as that of its counterparts.

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