Amazon workers in Minnesota and Germany went on strike in mid-July (just in time for Prime Day) to protest pay, working conditions and several other issues.
“While Amazon throws huge discounts to its customers on Prime Day, employees lack a living wage,” said German Verdi retail specialist Orhan Akman. “The company must finally recognize collective agreements for the retail and postal sectors; wages and salaries cannot be determined in the style of lord of the manor.”
More than 2,000 people participated in the strike in Germany, where Amazon has been caught in a bitter dispute with German trade unions for years.
“While we don’t provide exact numbers, we are seeing very limited participation across Germany with zero operational impact and therefore no impact on customer deliveries,” an Amazon spokesperson told CNN Business.
And in Minnesota, workers are fighting against the strain they’re under.
“We’re humans, not robots,” said William Stolz, a warehouse worker in Shakopee, Minnesota. “They’re treating us like machines.”
In that case, an Amazon spokesperson said that the company provides “industry-leading pay of $15 per hour, benefits, and a safe workplace for our employees.”
Workers from other countries also participated in strikes, including Spain, Poland and across the United Kingdom.
“We’re staging protests across Amazon sites up and down the country this Prime Day,” said Mick Rix, a union leader. “The conditions our members work under at Amazon sites across the UK are appalling.”
Comedian and cable television host of “Last Week Tonight” John Oliver, recently aired a segment on the injury and illness rate among Amazon warehouse workers, prompting the company’s senior vice president to tweet, “As a fan of the show, I enjoy watching John make an entertaining case for the failings of companies, governments and most recently, Mount Everest. But he is wrong on Amazon. Industry-leading $15 minimum wage and comprehensive benefits are just one of many programs we offer.”
What Do You Think?
Do you think Amazon exploits its warehouse workers, or is this the first you’re hearing of it?