Tuesday July 9, 2019
Big quote: "Amazon is going to be telling one story about itself, which is they can ship a Kindle to your house in one day, isn't that wonderful... We want to take the opportunity to talk about what it takes to make that work happen and put pressure on Amazon to protect us and provide safe, reliable jobs."
Amazon's annual Prime Day is just around the corner, and as has been the case with previous Prime Days, some of the retail giant's workers will be going on strike during the event to protest their poor working conditions.
This information comes courtesy of a Bloomberg report, which claims that Amazon workers based in Shakopee, Minnesota, are planning to conduct a "six-hour work stoppage" on July 15.
"Amazon is going to be telling one story about itself, which is they can ship a Kindle to your house in one day, isn't that wonderful," strike organizer William Stolz said in a statement to Bloomberg. "We want to take the opportunity to talk about what it takes to make that work happen and put pressure on Amazon to protect us and provide safe, reliable jobs."
Stolz' implication that Amazon doesn't exactly provide the best working environment is nothing new -- similar allegations have been leveled at the corporation for many years now, from a wide variety of sources (which suggests these issues aren't isolated to one or two locations).
We've heard about employees falling asleep on their feet, getting hospitalized due to unsafe machinery, and being required to meet unrealistic packaging quota goals every day.
This year's strike is addressing not just those issues, but also poor compensation and Amazon's alleged unwillingness to convert a higher number of its temporary contract employees (which typically do not receive company benefits) to full-time workers.
Amazon, for its part, has responded to this year's strike, stating that at the Shakpoee facility in particular, "an average of 90 percent" of workers were already full-time. Regarding compensation, Amazon claims it "already offers" what strike organizers are asking for.
"Amazon provides competitive hourly rates ranging from $16.25 to $20.80, with benefits," the company told Bloomberg in one statement. It went on to add that "anyone" can take a tour of the Shakopee facility for themselves if they don't believe the retail giant's claims.
It's worth noting that this is not the first time Amazon employees have gone on strike during a major sales period. The company's European warehouse workers did the same on both Black Friday and Prime Day in 2018. It remains to be seen whether or not this year's strike will have any material impact on Amazon's operations.