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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Boycott Amazon Campaign Labor actions

Amazon Cheated on Union Vote, NLRB Hearing Officer Recommends Do-Over

6109481ae4b0552883e5928e.pdf (huffingtonpost.com)

Excerpt:

“On April 9, 2021, a tally of ballots issued in a mail ballot election that had commenced on February 8, 2021. That tally reflected that a majority of employees who had cast ballots in the election voted against representation by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (Petitioner or Union). However, the Petitioner contests the results of the election claiming that Amazon.Com Services, LLC (Employer or Amazon) engaged in objectionable conduct. As a
result of this objectionable conduct, Petitioner asks that the election be set aside and that a new election be directed. Specifically, the Petitioner contends that the Employer interfered with the …conditions necessary to conduct a fair election by causing a mailbox to be installed on
its premises, by polling employees, by threatening employees, by hiring additional police, and by interfering with the Union’s access to voters by causing the county to alter the timing of certain traffic lights.
After conducting the hearing and carefully reviewing the evidence and the arguments made by the parties, I recommend that Petitioner’s objections be sustained in part because the evidence demonstrates that the Employer’s conduct interfered with the laboratory conditions
necessary to conduct a fair election.”

With Amazon Accused of Cheating, NLRB Official Says Workers Should Get Another Union Vote | Common Dreams News

Excerpt:

An official at the National Labor Relations Board on Monday formally recommended tossing out the results of a closely watched union election at Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, potentially giving workers there a chance to hold another vote as the e-commerce giant faces accusations of unlawful misconduct.

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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power

Amazon’s Drone Delivery Collapsing

The slow collapse of Amazon’s drone delivery dream | WIRED UK

Excerpt:

Well over 100 employees at Amazon Prime Air have lost their jobs and dozens of other roles are moving to other projects abroad as the company shutters part of its operation in the UK, WIRED understands. Insiders claim the future of the UK operation, which launched in 2016 to help pioneer Amazon’s global drone delivery efforts, is now uncertain.

Those working on the UK team in the last few years, who spoke on condition of anonymity, describe a project that was “collapsing inwards”, “dysfunctional” and resembled “organised chaos”, run by managers that were “detached from reality” in the years building up to the mass redundancies.

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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Boycott Amazon Campaign Labor actions

How Amazon Exploited a Weakened America

https://blackagendareport.com/how-amazon-exploited-weakened-america

Excerpt:

Amazon will not stop squeezing every drop from workers until those workers have more power.

“The book is less an examination of the company than an examination of America through its lens.”

Fulfillment: Winning and Losing in One-Click America
Alec MacGillis
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 9780374159276

During the Covid-19 pandemic, one in four Americans has struggled to pay their bills, and as of mid-January, unemployment claims surpassed those of the Great Recession for the forty-third straight week. As of February, more than 24 million people reported that their households sometimes didn’t have enough to eat. Many lower-income Americans continued to report for in-person jobs without proper protective equipment in dangerously crowded environments like meatpacking plants, warehouses, and hospitals.

For those who could work from home, it became “our patriotic duty” to buy online, wrote ProPublica reporter Alec MacGillis in a November New York Times op-ed. Flattening the curve put the nail in the coffin of in-person retail, which had already endured record closures in 2019. Amazon, meanwhile, hired 250,000 people, taking the total to over a million employees globally. Most of those jobs sucked: They were largely in warehouse and delivery, which have become notoriously brutal jobs at Amazon both physically and mentally (but we’ll get to that). Nine months into 2020, and six months into the pandemic, Amazon had already surpassed its 2019 earnings.

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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Boycott Amazon Campaign Labor actions

Bezos’ s Wasteful Space Race Proves: Tax Amazon on Earth

Last week, we saw billionaires Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos engage in a massively wasteful ‘space race’ while the entire Western United States suffered from a record-breaking heat wave. Then, after landing, Jeff Bezos had the audacity to thank Amazon workers for paying for his public mid-life crisis.

Back on Earth, the rest of us are paying for billionaire greed too as record temperatures threaten human life and infrastructure in a climate crisis driven by the top 100 companies in the world. Renters have nowhere to go as the eviction moratorium is about to end, and the median price of a house in California has risen by $300,000.

Lack of housing, climate destruction, and poor working conditions all have the same cause: the hoarding and exploitation committed by the billionaire class.

To fight against Bezos, Amazon, and Big Business, we’ll need a mass movement committed to fighting first-hand for what we need. Will you commit to joining our volunteer campaign to tax Amazon in Burbank?

Take a stand!

Raise $100 million from tax on companies with the largest square footageBefore they do that, we need to show public support for the terms as passed by the Action Conference:The TAB campaign has officially sent our resolutions from the last Action Conference to the Burbank City Council. Once they add it to the agenda, they’ll debate on whether or not to craft a law that meets our terms. The council will likely attempt to water down the resolutions in an attempt to cater to Big Business in Burbank!

Fund rent and utilities relief due to COVID

Build social housing by union labor with living wages

Fund public schools

Fund a Green New Deal in Burbank

And more!

When the council schedules the discussion of the Burbank Amazon Tax, we need Burbankers to show up online to speak up in support! Are you willing to show City Council that Burbank needs a strong tax on Amazon and Big Business?

Stay tuned, and add “Tax Amazon Burbank” to your address book so you won’t miss any updates. We’re heading into a crucial part of the campaign, and it’s going to take all of us to beat Bezos.

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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Boycott Amazon Campaign

Amazon Proposes South African HQ on Sacred Land

Denounce Amazon’s plan to build a South African HQ on sacred indigenous land!

Petition to Congress:
We demand you publicly denounce Amazon for trying to build its South African HQ on sacred indigenous land — and take steps to reduce the company’s immense power.

Amazon wants to build a new HQ in South Africa by bulldozing over sacred indigenous land.1 And just like when Amazon tried to build a new HQ in New York City, local activists in Cape Town are pushing back.

Amazon didn’t choose a sacred indigenous site by accident. They know it has historical, cultural and environmental significance.2 They just want to destroy and build on it anyway.

But since Amazon is a US company, they’re particularly vulnerable to grassroots pressure here in the US. You can show your solidarity with indigenous activists in South Africa by calling on your member of Congress to denounce this new Amazon headquarters.

Sign the petition: Tell Congress to denounce Amazon’s plan to build a HQ on sacred indigenous land in South Africa!

The indigenous land sits on the banks of the Liesbeek River where in the year 1510 Khoi and San peoples successfully fought back Portuguese colonizers. The area is still a source of pride and cultural heritage for the Khoi, which also survived decades of oppression under Apartheid. But now Amazon wants to bulldoze it and build a sprawling campus.

Over 50,000 residents in Cape Town signed a petition opposing the construction, but Amazon is pushing ahead anyway. That’s why folks on the ground there are asking for your help!

From AfricaNews AFP report:

Last month, the port city approved the construction of a nine-storey commercial and residential complex on a riverside green space, which will be anchored by the US online retail giant’s 70,000 square metre offices. But some descendants of the region’s original inhabitants, the Khoi and San peoples, accuse the project of desecrating their ancestral lands and plead the cultural and environmental significance of the site.

“Our heritage will be completely destroyed,” Aran Goringhaicona told AFP. “This place has a great spiritual significance for us,” added the traditional leader who heads a collective opposed to the project. Together with a group of local residents, the Observatory Civic Association (OCA), they wrote to the developer, Liesbeek Leisure Properties Trust (LLPT), this week to warn it of their intention to challenge the project in court.

If US elected officials publicly denounce this HQ project, Amazon will face an international political and PR nightmare. Activists here in the US successfully blocked an Amazon HQ in New York City. Together you can show solidarity with indigenous activists and help block this new Amazon HQ in South Africa.

Sign the petition: Tell Congress to denounce Amazon’s plan to build a HQ on sacred indigenous land in South Africa!

Sources:
1. Reuters, “Heritage dispute engulfs site chosen for Amazon’s new African HQ,” June 3, 2021.
2. Africa News, “Controversy over the location of Amazon African headquarters in Cape Town,” May 14, 2021.

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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Boycott Amazon Campaign Labor actions

Primed for Pain: Workplace Injuries at Amazon

Primed for Pain: – Strategic Organizing Center (thesoc.org)

Excerpt:

Amazon’s Epidemic of Workplace Injuries

As the largest e-commerce retailer in the US, Amazon took advantage of the massive shift to online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic and saw its US sales increase 39 percent during 2020. The company’s size and influence has expanded at an extraordinary pace. In the ten years between 2010 and 2020, Amazon’s workforce grew from 33,700 to nearly 1.3 million and its annual net income increased from $1.1 billion to $21.3 billion.

The company’s obsession with speed has come at a huge cost for Amazon’s workforce. For more than a decade, Amazon has made headlines for dangerous health and safety conditions in its facilities. In 2019, multiple groups of researchers and journalists analyzed standardized records of worker injuries maintained at Amazon facilities. They found that Amazon’s injury rates were over double the injury rate in the notoriously hazardous general warehousing industry.

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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Surveillance Capitalism

Amazon’s Ring & Echo Share Your Wireless with Neighbors

Amazon Sidewalk shares your Internet with smart homes — and surveillance devices – The Washington Post

Excerpts:

There’s an eyebrow-raising technology buried inside millions of Amazon Echo smart speakers and Ring security cameras. They have the ability to make a new kind of wireless network called Sidewalk that shares a slice of your home Internet connection with your neighbors’ devices.

At the start of June, Amazon switched Sidewalk on — for everyone.

I’m digging into my settings to turn it off. Sidewalk, which is built into Amazon devices dating back to 2018, raises more red flags than a marching band parade: Is it secure enough to be activated in so many homes? Are we helping Amazon build a vast network that can be used for more surveillance? And why didn’t Amazon ask us to opt-in before activating a capability lying dormant in our devices?

I recommend you opt out of Sidewalk, too, until we get much better answers to these questions.
  • If you’ve got Echo devices, go to the Alexa app on a phone, then tap the More icon. Then tap on Settings, then tap on Account Settings, then tap on Amazon Sidewalk. In there, make sure “Enabled” is set to off.
  • If you’ve got Ring devices, go to the Ring app on a phone, then tap the three bars at the top left corner to get to the menu. Then tap Control Center, then scroll down to Amazon Sidewalk.

Modern iPhones collect and beam out tiny snippets of other people’s data for Apple’s Find My network, used to report the location of lost devices and AirTag trackers. The routers that Comcast puts in our homes automatically double as hotspots for other Xfinity customers, though they create a separate WiFi network for the public traffic.

With Sidewalk, Amazon is creating a more robust network. Your lowly Echo speaker (or other compatible device) is already connected to your home’s private Internet connection. When Amazon transforms it into a so-called Sidewalk Bridge, your device creates a new network of its own that’s not WiFi. Instead, it uses common Bluetooth to connect devices nearby, and another type of signal (using the 900 MHz spectrum) to connect to devices up to half a mile away.

This new Sidewalk network can’t carry as much data as WiFi, but it’s still impressive: Sidewalk signals from all the Amazon devices in your neighborhood overlap and join together to create what’s called a mesh network.

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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Labor actions

Amazon Gives New Meaning to “Sweat-Shop”

Amazon Warehouse Kept Working Without Working Air Conditioning  (from Payday Report)

At one Amazon warehouse in Kent, Wash., workers were forced to work in heavy heat despite there being no working air conditioning system. The Seattle Times has the story:

Heat precautions were less evident at another of Amazon’s Kent facilities, where interior temperatures neared 90 degrees by midday, a second worker estimated. Not every workstation had functioning fans, that worker said. And some departments were running “power hours,” in which workers are asked to move as quickly as they can for an hour to boost productivity.

“I was sweating immediately,” said the second worker. “I’m really surprised at how ill-prepared they are, given we have known it would be this hot for a little bit now.” Some workers went home early because they couldn’t stand the heat, the worker said.

For more, check out The Seattle Times. 

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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Boycott Amazon Campaign Labor actions Surveillance Capitalism

Protesters Challenge Amazon Shareholders to Clean Up the Company’s Act

May 24, 2021 protest of Amazon's human rights, labor and environment violations
May 24, 2021 labor unionists, faith-based groups and civil libertarians protest Amazon’s human rights, labor and environment violations.

Here’s a report from the Athena coalition:

Athena.

On Wednesday, Amazon will hold its annual meeting with investors. There, they will continue to celebrate $21.3 billion in pandemic profiteering, dangerous exploitation of workers, and preying on Black, brown and immigrant communities with ICE deportations, police, pollution, and destruction of small business and climate.

Activist shareholders will introduce resolutions to begin to address Amazon’s business model, and your neighbors are assembling at the doors of its biggest shareholders to say we have #EyesOnAmazon shareholders, and expect them to vote with our communities, not Amazon’s destructive agenda.

Eyes On Amazon
This year, more than any other, Amazon’s role in our democracy and economy is on the agenda at its shareholder meeting. The pandemic and murder of George Floyd forced a reckoning over racism in America. Organizers and activists fought back against Amazon’s expanding partnerships with violent police departments; protested the firing of Black whistleblowers who worked at Amazon warehouses; and fought Amazon’s environmental damage in Black and brown neighborhoods, disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

This year we expand our fight, showing up beyond warehouses, beyond Jeff Bezos’ 25-bathroom mansion and beyond ICE headquarters in front of the doors of Amazon’s billionaire shareholders in our cities.

See you on the streets!

And here’s the full document to the shareholders spelling out Amazon’s egregious violations of labor, environmental and human rights:

Amazon 2021-Proxy-Statement

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Amazon/Whole Foods Monopoly Power Labor actions

Bessemer AL Amazon Union Campaign Defeated

RWDSU is Fighting the Outcome over Unfair Labor Practices  by Amazon

https://aflcio.org/press/releases/fair-shot-how-pro-act-wouldve-changed-amazon-organizing-landscape

Heroic Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, came together to claim their right to form a union, but antiquated federal labor law and a virulently anti-union company stood in their way. We all benefit from broad and accessible union membership. Organizing a union should not be a trial by combat. The Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act will make it easier for working people to organize if we so choose.

Here’s how the campaign unfolded in Bessemer, Alabama, and how it would be different under the PRO Act.

Before Organizing Started—Firings and Surveillance: 

  • Amazon workers were aware of the company’s anti-union position.
  • Amazon has fired workers for union activity in New York and Virginia, and faced no financial penalties. There are none under current labor law.
  • Amazon’s use of high-tech surveillance of workers’ organizing interests were widely reported. Amazon faced no penalties for this activity.

Under the PRO Act:

  • Workers who were fired would have had access to double damages for lost wages, and the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would be required to use the courts to get these workers their jobs back quickly.
  • Amazon would have to inform employees about their rights under the law, like other federally guaranteed rights. 
  • Unions would likely use labor law’s “unfair labor practice charge” system more vigorously because there would be meaningful penalties. 
  • Unions and employees would have the option of going to court to remedy unlawful action. 

When Workers Organized in Alabama: 

  • The Amazon campaign moved rapidly, driven by a groundswell of worker support, because most organizers understand speed is one of the only shields against illegal, but unpunished, employer violations of labor law.
  • Workers met with organizers clandestinely because they were very fearful of losing their jobs.
  • A relatively small number of workers have become the public face of the campaign because the remedies for workers being illegally fired for union activity are ineffective.  Workers being forced to silence themselves made it easier for Amazon to try to paint the union as an outside entity rather than a support for a genuine, new organization of working people.
  • Workers filed a petition to certify their union with the NLRB on Nov. 20, 2020, and immediately Amazon used legal maneuvers to attempt to have the petition thrown out.
  • In order to move forward with an election and accommodate Amazon, the union consented to thousands of seasonal workers, many of whom no longer worked in the facility, being included in the proposed bargaining unit and the representation election.
Bad News for Organized Labor: Vote Count at Amazon Bessemer Warehouse Going Against Union

https://paydayreport.com/amazon-union-being-defeated-2-to-1-w-30-counted-chicago-amazon-workers-wildcat-strike/

Excerpt:

Amazon Threw Out Hundreds of Ballots 

After more than a week of scrutinizing ballots and signatures, Amazon was able to successfully throw out hundreds of ballots, possibly padding its current lead.

“There remain hundreds of challenged ballots mostly by the employer that will need to be addressed after the public count,” the RWDSU said in a statement today. “As the ballot envelopes are opened and the ballots are counted there’s a possibility that more issues could impact the final results.”  (BDS-LA Note: RWDSU is the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store workers Union, which has long had a commitment to organizing the unorganized.)

FOIA: Amazon Pressured Postal Service to Put Postal Box In Front of Amazon Entrance

Whatever may occur in the union vote today, RWDSU has already indicated they plan to challenge the union vote for a variety of illegal intimidation tactics.

New FOIA documents released by The Washington Post show Amazon pressured the U.S. Postal Service to install a mailbox directly in front of the warehouse entrance.

“We have not heard anything back on the install of this collection box,” a postal service account manager wrote to Alabama colleagues on Jan. 14 in an email obtained via FOIA by The Washington Post. “Amazon is reaching out again to me today about the status as they wanted to move quickly on this.”

RWDSU contends that managers would routinely encourage workers to fill out their ballots and cast them directly in front of them.

The union has alleged that this is illegal intimidation and will likely appeal any vote to the National Labor Relations Board.

For more, check out The Washington Post. 

Amazon Workers in Chicago Stage Wildcat Strike 

While the workers at Amazon in Alabama appear headed for defeat, they may have inspired a movement nationwide.

Yesterday, non-union workers at an Amazon warehouse in Chicago staged a walkout to demand better conditions.

The Chicago Sun-Times has the story.