While the world has lost the equivalent to 400 million full-time jobs this year, the tech giant has nearly doubled its market valuation to over US$1.5 trillion and its third-quarter profits are up 200 per cent year-over-year.
We already know about Amazon’s success coming on the backs of workers—grueling conditions, unrealistic productivity targets, surveillance, bogus self-employment and a refusal to recognize or engage with unions unless forced. But the company has also grown by avoiding taxes, sacking employees calling for meaningful climate action, and consolidating its power over our markets.
We are seeing Amazon undercut responsible retailers while tightening its grip on global commerce, the infrastructure of information, the entertainment we consume, and our data. The company was a clear and present danger for our societies before the pandemic, and the threat has only deepened in COVID-19’s aftermath.
So what can we do facing such a massive danger on so many fronts-- workers’ rights, digital surveillance, tax avoidance, climate change, fair markets, data and privacy protection, and others? Organize to #MakeAmazonPay.
Workers from across the globe, represented by UNI Global Union and our affiliates, concerned elected officials aligned with Progressive International, human rights defenders, climate campaigners, and activists and supporters from dozens of global, national and local organizations advocating for a greener planet, a fairer tax system and an economy that work for all are launching #MakeAmazonPay. We are joining forces to make Amazon pay attention to workers’ demands; to make Amazon pay back what it owes our societies; and to make Amazon pay its debt to our planet.
Workers, from healthcare to retail and other sectors of the economy are paying a steep price to fight the virus. Many of them are literally dying to keep people safe, fed, and healthy. The question left for us who still believe in the dignity of work and the politics of the common good as a baseline from which to launch our economic success is: What are our societies asking from the new robber barons of our time?
Martin Luther King would tell us to fight hard to bend the long arc of the universe towards justice. Here and now this means pushing to #MakeAmazonPay.
UNI Global Union represents more than 20 million workers from over 150 different countries in the fastest growing service sectors in the world. UNI and our affiliates in all regions are driven by the responsibility to ensure these jobs are decent and workers’ rights are protected, including the right to join a union and collective bargaining.
Christy Hoffman is the UNI Global Union General Secretary @CHoffmanUNI
Photo: Friedemann Vogel EPA
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