The Long Arm of Amazon
Prime Day is July 15! Do you have your shopping list ready? Shopping on Amazon is great, but what are the hidden costs? How are the workers treated and paid? Is Amazon paying its fair share of taxes – local, federal, and state?
You would be hard-pressed to avoid shopping at Amazon, its affiliates or using its products. Through exponential growth and aggressive buy-outs of other companies, Amazon has created a web of influence unseen in modern times. It is hard to believe that it started as an online bookseller. Founder Jeff Bezos is now one of the richest people in the world.
Shopping on Amazon.com is a tremendous convenience that offers consumers from all over the world the ability to order just about anything and have it show up at their address. Recently they started offering same-day shipping on some products for Prime members to go along with the existing one- and two-day options.
All of this convenience comes at a cost. Working in an Amazon fulfillment center has been described as a dehumanizing experience with relentless monitoring of productivity. Worker productivity is monitored by a computer that can terminate an employee for failing to follow procedures or meet goals.
$15 Minimum Wage
In recent years, workers at these warehouses have been making their case for higher wages and better working conditions. Amazon has raised the minimum wage to $15 but at the same time eliminated bonuses and profit sharing. In 2018, workers in several European countries went on strike on Prime Day – Amazon’s annual sale for Prime Members.
On July 15th, Prime Day 2019, employees at the Amazon Fulfillment Center located in Shakopee, MN will be stopping work for 4 hours to protest company policies for warehouse workers. We can support these workers by reducing or stopping shopping on Amazon for a day or more. Not an easy thing to do, but do we really need another item cluttering our homes?
Partial List of Amazon Companies and Products:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS) – Cloud Computing
- Amazon Prime Video
- Kindle E-Readers
- Fire Tablets and TVs
- Amazon Echo
- Whole Foods
- The Washington Post
Visit MarketWatch to view a graphic showing all of Jeff Bezos’s companies in one graphic.
Public Libraries are a fantastic resource and a vital part of our communities. Libraries today offer so much more than just books. One of their most important services is that they provide are computers and internet access, a vital resource in today’s connected world.
Best of all – Using the Library is Free!
The library is a great place to begin a job search. There is often a special area for career research and access to the internet for searching and applying for jobs online.
Solving 1 Problem at a Time
If you are like me and are aware of the many problems and challenges we are facing in our country, you might get overwhelmed. Sometimes it all seems like too much for anyone to handle. What can one person do to make our country a better place?
There are more problems than we as individuals can solve, but by choosing just one to work on and getting involved, we can make a difference. Sometimes the word activist is not always seen in positive terms, but we all need to be taking action about things that matter to us.
Hunger in America is an ongoing problem. There are many organizations working to provide food for the needy including Feeding America, Second Harvest Heartland, No Kid Hungry, and more. Finding an opportunity to volunteer at a local food bank will not be difficult.
A growing problem in our country is the lack of affordable housing. Habitat for Humanity was formed in 1976 and has helped 22 million people gain housing. Local chapters of Habitat exist in many areas and offer opportunities for people to help with building projects.
Pick a cause, any cause and give of your time, talents, and money to make it a success. Here at The One Union we have chosen to focus on Inequality and focus our efforts on fighting corporate greed.