Amazon workers plan global Black Friday protests for better wages, tax accountability

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Amazon employees worldwide are planning to strike on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Make Amazon Pay, a coalition of workers and activists, is organizing Black Friday protests to demand the retail giant raise wages, pay more taxes and reduce its carbon footprint, according to its website. The strikes are set to take place at factories, warehouses, data centers, corporate offices and oil refineries across the world, including sites in Minnesota, California, Boston and New York City.

Make Amazon Pay published a list of 25 demands on its website that include raising wages and extending paid sick leave, offering unions access to Amazon worksites, committing to zero emissions by 2030 and paying taxes in full by “ending tax abuse through profit shifting, loopholes and the use of tax havens, and providing full tax transparency.”

Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in an emailed statement that while the company is “not perfect in any area,” the company takes its role and impact “very seriously.”

Nantel pointed to the company’s pledge to hit net zero carbon by 2040; its “competitive wages and great benefits” with average starting wages at more than $18 per hour, depending on location; and the company’s $1.7 billion federal income tax expense reported in 2020. The spokesperson added that Amazon is “inventing new ways” to keep employees safe and healthy.

Nantel did not say how the protests would affect holiday shoppers.

The trillion-dollar company and its founder, billionaire Jeff Bezos, have recently come under fire for a myriad of issues. The company faces a number of antitrust investigations from a number of entities, including regulators in the U.S., Canada and the European Union, and is frequently accused of overworking its employees while offering inadequate wages. President Joe Biden and others have also criticized the amount of taxes the company pays.

Bezos acknowledged in an April letter to shareholders that Amazon needs “to do a better job for our employees.”

Despite the pushback, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has helped Bezos become the first person in history with a net worth surpassing $200 billion.

“The pandemic has exposed how Amazon places profits ahead of workers, society, and our planet,” Make Amazon Pay said in a statement. “Amazon takes too much and gives back too little.”

Amazon settles with 2 outspoken workers it fired last year

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