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Article

5 May 2020

Author:
Hamilton Nolan, In These Times

Intl. coalition of Amazon employees forms to demand improved pay, safety protections, reinstatement of dismissed workers & end to casual employment

"Amazon Labor Activism Goes International as European and U.S. Workers Combine Forces", 4 May 2020

A new coalition of Amazon employee activists from Spain, France, German, Poland and America has announced itself with a list of demands for improved pay and safety...

The new group, called Amazon Workers International (AWI)... [sent a] letter... to CEO Jeff Bezos... Among the demands... making permanent the wage increases and extra break time instituted in response to the coronavirus crisis; granting two weeks of paid sick leave, and extending the unlimited unpaid sick leave program that the company just ended in the U.S.; working in good faith with unions; reinstating the workers who have been fired for their activism; and ending “all forms of casual and temporary employment,” which the group calls an abuse of corporate power...

[An Amazon] spokesman cited recent pay increases, along with increased cleaning, social distancing, masks and other safety measures the company has introduced, and said, "We encourage anyone interested in the facts to compare our overall pay and benefits, as well as our speed in managing this crisis, to other retailers and major employers across the country.”...

European workers involved in AWI... say that international collaboration is a necessity when trying to change an international behemoth like Amazon. “What we learned in our many years of struggle is, that if you want to organize at Amazon, you will have to think long term, build a broad base of workers who stand behind the cause and are willing to take action... They say that they eventually hope to expand AWI and bring in Amazon workers in Asia and in Latin America...

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