Prime Day protest planned outside Bezos’ Beverly Hills mansion

At a Prime Day protest exterior Jeff Bezos’ condominium constructing in New York Metropolis in July 2019.

Sarah Tew/PJDM

This story is part of Amazon Prime Day, PJDM’s guide on everything you need to know and how to make sure you get the best deal.

Prime Day is again, and so are the protests.

The Congress of Essential Workers, an activist group led by present and former Amazon warehouse staff, is planning a march in opposition to the e-commerce big on Sunday exterior CEO Jeff Bezos‘ mansion in Beverly Hills, California. The demonstration was scheduled simply forward of Prime Day, which kicks off on Oct. 13. The group is bringing collectively organizations representing each local weather and labor points, together with Dawn Motion and Extinction Insurrection, to lift issues about Amazon’s enterprise practices and warehouse working circumstances.

“Staff will not be going to be handled pretty and going to have obligatory additional time and haven’t any breaks for the subsequent two months into December,” Jordan Flowers, an outspoken Amazon employee from its Staten Island warehouse who’s a pacesetter of the employee group, mentioned in an interview Friday.

Amongst a protracted listing of calls for, the group is looking for a brand new federal wealth tax to assist city communities, a $30 minimal wage and hazard pay at some point of the coronavirus pandemic. Amazon’s present minimal wage is $15, above the federal minimal of $7.25, and it usually talks up its benefits package, which incorporates medical insurance, retirement financial savings and as much as 20 weeks paid parental go away. 

The group additionally referred to as for the best for employees to unionize “with out worry of retaliation,” a reference to Amazon’s anti-union fame. No US Amazon employees are unionized.

Amazon did not remark for this story. For anybody planning to attend the two p.m. PT occasion, masks can be obligatory.

Whereas Prime Day has develop into a possibility for Amazon to point out off its membership perks and promote hundreds of thousands of merchandise, the sale has additionally develop into a platform for activism in opposition to the corporate. Anti-Amazon demonstrations are additionally held recurrently in the course of the holiday season. Final yr, Prime Day demonstrations had been held in Minnesota, New York, Seattle, San Francisco and throughout Europe, with teams talking out on points starting from climate change to Amazon’s working circumstances to the corporate’s ties to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Cancel your Prime memberships, order much less on Prime Day week and provides us time to be ready as a result of peak season is hectic,” Flowers mentioned in a plea to Amazon clients, referencing the vacation purchasing season. “We’re doing 50 or 60 hours every week with one or two days off.”

He mentioned he’s nonetheless an lively worker on the firm, although he hasn’t come to his warehouse since February and is on unpaid go away as a result of he has lupus, an autoimmune illness that makes him extra prone to severe well being issues if he had been to contract the novel coronavirus. Flowers added that Amazon has proven no concern for his well being points and he’s at present on state unemployment.

Flowers’ group is can be led by Christian Smalls, an Amazon employee who gained prominence after he was fired for organizing a protest in March to name out coronavirus well being issues on the Staten Island warehouse. Amazon mentioned Smalls was terminated for violating a company-mandated quarantine order.

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The march on Sunday exterior of Bezos’ mansion is clearly meant to spotlight the wealth disparity between warehouse staff and their boss — the world’s richest person, who’s internet price in the course of the coronavirus has ballooned to $185 billion. The Wall Street Journal reported in February that Bezos purchased his 9-acre Beverly Hills residence from media mogul David Geffen for $165 million, a brand new report for the Los Angeles space.

Bezos has made many efforts to point out he is giving again, already pledging $10 billion for climate change and $2 billion for homeless households and training.

The protest comes simply days after Amazon disclosed almost 20,000 of its staff contracted coronavirus this yr. The corporate has instituted a bevy of security protocols to guard its warehouse employees, together with testing, temperature checks and common cleanings.

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Ben Fox Rubin