Amazon warehouse workers plan walkouts, call for strikes on Black Friday
Amazon warehouse workers in dozens of countries including the United States are planning to walk off the job to protest pay and working conditions on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year.
Labor stoppages are being planned for several warehouse locations throughout the country, including Bessemer, Ala.; Columbia, Md.; Detroit, Mich.; Durham, NC; Garner, NC; Joliet, Ill.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Portland, Ore.; and Washington, DC.
There is also a planned work stoppage at several Whole Foods store locations. Whole Foods is a subsidiary of Amazon.
Amazon employees and labor activists also plan to hold a protest rally in front of a New York City residence owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, according to CBS News.
The labor actions are being organized on social media under the hashtag #MakeAmazonPay.
“On Black Friday, in what has already been named #MakeAmazonPay day, unions, civil society and progressive elected officials will stand shoulder to shoulder in a massive global day of action to denounce Amazon’s despicable multimillion dollar campaigns to kill worker-lead union efforts,” said Christy Hoffman, general secretary of UNI Global Union.
“It’s time for the tech giant to cease their awful, unsafe practices immediately, respect the law and negotiate with the workers who want to make their jobs better.”
Last month, workers at an Albany facility voted against joining a union. Earlier this year, an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island became the first Amazon-run workplace to unionize.
The company has appealed the effort and sought to overturn the vote.
The Post has sought comment from Amazon.
European labor activists have also announced planned work stoppages at several fulfillment centers across the Continent.
Germany’s Verdi union said work stoppages were planned at 10 warehouses in the country. France’s SUD and CGT unions called for strike action in the country’s eight warehouses.
Verdi demanded the company recognize collective bargaining agreements for the retail and mail order trade sector and called for a further collective agreement on good working conditions, while French unions called for an increase of a higher cash bonus for period preceding Christmas, during which employees at warehouses are asked to do a lot of overtime work.
“As an employer, Amazon offers great pay, benefits and development opportunities – all in an attractive and safe working environment,” a spokesperson for Amazon in Germany said in a statement.
Among other things, the spokesperson pointed to a wage increase for Amazon logistics employees in Germany from September, with the starting wage now at $13.52 per hour or more, including bonus payments.
A spokesperson for Amazon in France said that all warehouse employees earning less than 3,100 euros per month would receive a one-time bonus of 500 euros, on top of a 150-euro end-of-year bonus agreed with the union.
On Friday morning, the company said the vast majority of its employees in Germany were working as normal, with strike action limited to nine of its 20 German fulfilment centres.
Amazon France said there had been no sign of disruption to operations so far. Two French union officials said they were not expecting a big turnout because the rising cost-of-living was driving employees to seek overtime.
“This is the first time that Amazon has had an international strike day,” said Monika Di Silvestre, Verdi’s representative for Amazon workers.
“This is very important, because a major global corporation like Amazon cannot be confronted locally, regionally or nationally alone,” she added.
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