Senators vs. Amazon: what an online store is wrong for
Bernie Sanders - the main "socialist" of America, the presidential candidate of the United States, the pet of the Internet and the category "up to 30 years" (many predicted a victory for him if his opponents for the primaries chose him instead of Hillary). The main fighter against the oppression of the people by the richest one percent.
And now he has something in common with Trump: they both have a main enemy - Amazon. Only if Trump does not personally like Bezos, because the Washington Post, which is under his control, writes about “defaming articles” about the president and his friends, will Sanders continue to fight for the rights of “99%”. He is convinced that Amazon is one of the worst companies for ordinary workers, and is going to lift the whole movement.
Sanders began to collect additional information about the living conditions of workers in the warehouses of Amazon - on the eve of the new bill, which he intends to submit to Congress in the coming days. Reducing economic inequality between the rich and the poor was the main point of his presidential campaign in 2016, and after the election, the senator took seriously the largest corporations in the world. Amazon, the second largest employer of the United States and the property of the richest person in the world, is its main goal.
A week ago, a Vermont senator invited employees to share their impressions of the work. Jeff Bezos’s former and current employees may complain about working conditions, indicate whether they need public assistance and tell their story anonymously. Sanders says that his office already knows quite a lot about the state of the workers in the company's warehouses, and now he is looking for those who could testify before Congress.
We know that the median salary of an Amazon employee is about $ 28,000. About half of Amazon employees get less than $ 28,000 per year.
The data of Bernie and other senators who supported him received from the US Securities Commission (SEC). She recently found out that the company's median salary is $ 28,446. For many, this was a shock. For comparison, the median income on average in the United States is about $ 40,000, and Bezos himself receives such a profit every 10 seconds.
We have reason to believe that many tens of thousands of Amazon workers in warehouses throughout the country receive very low wages. It was difficult for us to get this information. Amazon hides it carefully. But, according to our data, every third Amazon worker is so poor that he is forced to receive public assistance in order to survive. They are either in the Medicaid program , or receive food stamps, or live in social housing.
The senator admits that formally the company does not do anything illegal. She may well pay her employees a salary close to the minimum. But if you compare it with those that get top managers and business owners, the question arises. Why the state should allocate billions in subsidies to support those people who work diligently in the second most successful company on the planet, which has recently become worth more than $ 1 trillion. Amazon is an extremely profitable business, and the increase in salaries would not be a big problem for it. Bezos could personally give each of his 566 thousand employees $ 200,000, and still remain among the first rich people of the planet with $ 50 billion.
This problem will be solved by a new bill. If your employees live below the poverty line, the employer will be asked to do something about it. Otherwise there will be consequences. According to the draft of Bernie and other senators, the state will put pressure on "greedy" businessmen through taxes.
Taxpayers should not subsidize a guy who has $ 150 billion, and whose wealth is growing by $ 260 million every day. This is madness. He has enough money to pay his living wages to his employees. He does not need state. support. Our goal is to see how Bezos pays his employees a salary to live on.
Amazon does not comment on the bill until it is officially submitted to Congress. But representatives of the company responded about the unfolding situation:
We encourage everyone to compare our conditions with any other retailers. Our payouts are better than the market average. Last year, Amazon created more than 130,000 new jobs. The average hourly wage in our warehouses, including promotions and incentive bonuses, is more than $ 15. This is in addition to the full package of benefits, which includes health, vision and dentistry insurance, long-term parental leave and the opportunity to study high-paying jobs through our Career Choice program, which has 16,000 participants.
Amazon also proposes that those who are worried about the status of its workers, book a tour of one of the company's “executive centers”. Bernie Sanders was offered such an excursion for free, the senator accepted the offer.
Dreadful stories about what is happening in the warehouses of the largest online store appear quite regularly. In 2012, journalist Mac McKeland released an investigation into how he was Amazon's “slave”, hauling parcels 12 hours a day — and how his colleagues lost fingers on a conveyor belt and lived in constant fear of being fired. In 2013, Gawker magazine found a series of e-mails of employees where they discuss life at executive centers, complaining about the absence of interruptions, temperatures below zero and unrealistic “goals” for which they are constantly being fined.
In 2014, The Guardian took an interview from one of the protesters, the former "most efficient collecting warehouse", which has now become homeless, but says that it is better than to continue to work in those conditions. "The homeless is respected more than the warehouse worker."
The last scandal occurred this April. British journalist James Bloodworth worked for six months in the Amazon undercover warehouse, and wrote about his impressions. Most of all I remember that the warehouse staff are forced to write in bottles, fearing to leave the toilet once more. Only in this way could they fulfill their daily allowance. Those who went to the toilet too many times during the day were immediately identified by the system, and they became the first candidates for dismissal.
Amazon has recently become the second American company in history to reach a capitalization of $ 1 trillion (Apple was the first in August). Profit is growing at a record pace, at 40% per year. Therefore, telling that she does not have money to raise wages, it will not work here, no one will believe her. Apparently, the online store has chosen a different strategy.
Two weeks ago, an interesting phenomenon began in social networks. There are hundreds of accounts telling that they work at Amazon, and their conditions are more than satisfactory. One happily writes:
Hello! I work at the Amazon warehouse in Washington, and our salaries are very good! Amazon pays us 30% more than offline stores. And we get a complete medical package from day one. Working conditions are very good! Clean, light. Our safety is in high priority!
It turned out that these were not bots, but quite real people. Ordinary warehouse workers. Which Amazon has appointed "ambassadors" - so they can tell how things really are. Employees accept this role at will. Favorite topics of online conversations are how they have enough time to go to the toilet, the pleasantness of the temperature in the building, excellent salary and enjoyment of their work, which is “not as monotonous and exhausting as people think.”
For their struggle in social networks, the "ambassadors" of Amazon receive a paid time off for one day and a gift card for $ 50, which expires in a week.
For two hares
Sanders and his fellow senators are closely following not only Amazon. In June, Bernie spoke to the crowd in the Anaheim church, alluding to Disney:
I want to hear the moral defense of a company earning $ 9 billion and giving $ 400 million to its CEO when its 30-year-old workers earn less than $ 11 per hour and live on the street, unable to pay the rent. Explain to me how this is true.
A month later, in July, he directly attacked the Disney chapter, Bob Eiger, on Twitter. As a result, Disney agreed a week ago with the demands of the Walt Disney World workers union to pay at least $ 15 an hour and improve the quality of the social package. Sanders is convinced that Jeff Bezos will also be able to follow this path. “He will say - yes, I am the richest person in the world. Why not? Hey, you're there, make sure all my employees can live and work normally! ”
Amazon executive center worker in Washington
The new bill will affect mainly Amazon and Walmart - the two largest US employers. The idea is simple: if you are a large company with thousands of employees, and they get so little that you have to starve, live on the street, get Medicaid and food stamps, then they will charge you extra taxes. Exactly the entire amount that the state has to spend on supporting your workers. It turns out that the employer will pay for social assistance — Jeff Bezos or the Walton family, who owns Wallmart — and not the US middle class. The bill goes by the name Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act (abbreviation - “Stop BEZOS”)
And how do you think, who is right? Is Bezos to blame for the fact that his company is doing so well?
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