Above Photo: An Amazon Warehouse worker participates in a protest in New Delhi, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022. AP Photo / Manish Swarup.
Black Friday kicks off the holiday shopping season. For Amazon, it’s already off to a rocky start.
Workers at the STL8 Amazon Facility walk off the job on BLACK FRIDAY to demand higher wages, safer work conditions, respect and the right to form a union without retaliation. #MakeAmazonPay #AmazonHurts #UnionsForAll pic.twitter.com/nMBkruDVVy
— Missouri Workers Center (@moworkerscenter) November 25, 2022
Today, Amazon workers and activists are protesting to secure better working conditions across the globe. The campaign is led by Make Amazon Pay, a coalition of 70 trade unions and organizations including Greenpeace, Oxfam, and Amazon Workers International.
“The pandemic has exposed how Amazon places profits ahead of workers, society, and our planet,” Make Amazon Pay wrote in a list of demands shared on its website. “Amazon takes too much and gives back too little. It is time to Make Amazon Pay.”
Protests were planned in more than 30 countries, including India, Germany, and Japan, according to Make Amazon Pay. In the US, protests are expected in more than 10 cities from coast to coast at Amazon’s main headquarters in Seattle, Jeff Bezos’ penthouse in New York City, Whole Foods stores, and Amazon warehouses.
Strikes are planned at 18 warehouses in France and Germany that were coordinated by trade unions, and several in the US, such as STL8, Amazon’s warehouse in St. Peters, Missouri.
“Amazon workers need higher pay. We need safer work,” stated Jennifer Crane, who works at the Missouri warehouse, in a video made by Make Amazon Pay. “Things don’t have to be this way. Amazon can afford to give us a living wage and to provide us a rate of work that doesn’t lead to injuries of death.”
Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel previously told Insider that the company is working to address campaign concerns, including carbon emissions and competitive wages.
“These groups represent a variety of interests, and while we are not perfect in any area, 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,” Nantel said.
While unionization efforts by Amazon employees in the US have garnered many headlines, workers are also pushing for better working conditions overseas. Subcontracted drivers in Japan recently formed a union, which protested in front of the retail giant’s Japan headquarters in Meguro, Tokyo.
In Bangladesh, garment workers rallied for union recognition, better pay, and humane working conditions.
“Garment workers, like those I represent, toil to swell Amazon’s coffers often without any recognition that we are even Amazon workers,” said Nazma Akhter, president of the Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation in Bangladesh, in a statement.
Akhter continued: “Amazon is the third largest direct employer in the world, but when you take us in the supply chain into account, it is even larger.”
Even some corporate employees are considering unionizing, according to messages seen by Insider’s Katherine Long. This comes on the heels of Amazon announcing its plan to layoff 10,000 corporate employees, with the effort starting on November 15.