Amazon is one of the most powerful corporations on the planet, headed by the world’s richest person, CEO Jeff Bezos.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Amazon became a trillion dollar corporation, with Bezos becoming the first person in history to amass $200 billion in personal wealth. Meanwhile, Amazon warehouse workers risked their lives as essential workers, and only briefly received an increase in pay.
As Amazon’s corporate empire expands, so too has its carbon footprint, which is larger than two thirds of all countries in the world. Amazon’s growing delivery and cloud computer businesses are accelerating global climate breakdown.
Like all major corporations, Amazon’s success would be impossible without the public institutions that citizens built together over generations. But instead of giving back to the societies that helped it grow, the corporation starves them of tax revenue through its world beating efforts at tax dodging. In 2019, Amazon paid just 1.2% tax in the US, the country it is headquartered in, up from 0% the two previous years.
Amazon is not alone in these bad practices but it sits at the heart of a failed system that drives the inequality, climate breakdown and democratic decay that scar our age.
The pandemic has exposed how Amazon places profits ahead of workers, society, and our planet. Amazon takes too much and gives back too little. It is time to Make Amazon Pay.
Make Amazon Pay: Common Demands
We are workers, activists, and citizens from across the globe joining together to Make Amazon Pay its workers fairly, for its impact on the environment and its taxes.
We demand Amazon change its policies and governments change their laws to:
1. Improve the workplace by:
- raising workers’ pay in all Amazon warehouses in line with the increasing wealth of the corporation, including hazard pay and premium pay for peak times;
- negotiating adequate break time to ensure safe work;
- suspending the harsh productivity and surveillance regime Amazon has used to squeeze workers, which violates their rights and jeopardizes their safety;
- extending paid sick leave to all Amazon workers, so that no worker has to choose between their health or their job;
- allowing workers in sites without workplaces representation to independently elect health and safety commissions, which negotiate with Amazon to ensure a safe pace of work to avoid repeated injury;
- disclosing the corporation’s protocol for tracking and reporting COVID-19 cases, as well updated lists cases of infection and death among all workers in Amazon warehouses, by facility.
2. Provide job security to all by:
- ending all forms of casual employment and bogus self-employment or contractor status;
- establishing decent, transparent procedures through which workers can voice concerns and criticisms without fear of punishment;
- reinstating, immediately, all workers fired for speaking up about issues concerning the health and safety of Amazon workers and customers; engaging in efforts to organize fellow workers; or due to selective enforcement of internal policies.
3. Respect workers’ universal rights by:
- ending union busting, respecting workers’ right to organize, and unions’ rights to promote workers’ interests, and immediately stop all forms of spying on workers and organizers;
- giving unions access to Amazon worksites to inform workers on the benefits of unionization, so that all workers can freely choose whether to join a union without any fear of retaliation;
- bargaining with unions wherever they are present in order to reach collective agreements on the conditions and terms of workers’ employment at Amazon;
- ensuring workers’ rights throughout Amazon’s supply chains globally;
- sharing power with workers, for instance by welcoming worker representatives elected by their colleagues in different management levels, and by increasing options for workers to receive not only shares in the corporation, but also voting rights, so that the company moves towards a model of democratic governance.
4. Operate sustainably by:
- committing to zero emissions by 2030;
- ending all custom Amazon Web Services contracts for fossil fuel companies to accelerate oil and gas extraction;
- ending Amazon’s complicity in environmental racism, including by transitioning to electric vehicles first in communities most impacted by the corporation’s pollution;
- stopping all sponsoring of climate change denial;
- engaging workers, who have a right to know how their employer will operate sustainably, through a Just Transition process.
5. Pay back to society by:
- paying taxes in full, in the countries where the real economic activity takes place, ending tax abuse through profit shifting, loopholes and the use of tax havens, and providing full tax transparency;
- ending partnerships with police forces and immigration authorities that are institutionally racist;
- ceasing anti-competitive business practices that lead to monopolization;
- guaranteeing transparency over the privacy and use of consumers’ data, including Alexa/Echo devices, streaming and cloud services;
- guaranteeing privacy and confidentiality of all Internet of Things applications and software produced by or sold via Amazon, including Alexa/Echo devices, streaming and cloud services;
- stopping the development, deployment, and sale of devices and software that expand mass surveillance practices, such as Amazon Ring and facial recognition/biometrics software such as Rekognition.
- Aapti Institute, India
- Algorithm Watch
- All India IT and ITeS Employees’ Union
- Amazon Employees for Climate Justice
- Amazon Workers International
- Athena Coalition
- Attac Norway
- Berlin vs. Amazon
- Building and Wood Worker’s International
- Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
- Canadian Center for Policy Alternatives
- Centre for International Corporate Tax Accountability and Research
- Data 4 Black Lives
- Debt Collective
- Democracy in Europe Movement (DiEM25)
- Education International
- Ethical Consumer
- European Arts and Entertainment Alliance
- Focus on the Global South
- Friends of the Earth France
- Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity Global Labor Justice – International Labor Rights Forum
- Hawkers Joint Action Committee
- International Federation of Journalists
- International Trade Union Confederation
- International Transport Workers’ Federation
- International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations
- IT for Change
- Joint Action Committee against Foreign Retail and E-commerce (India)
- Model Alliance
- Our Revolution
- Progressive International
- Public Citizen
- Public Services International
- Rinascimento Green
- Sunrise Movement
- Tax Justice Network
- The Leap
- The Transnational Institute
- UNI Global Union
- War on Want
- Workings People Charter