'We're human, not robots': Amazon workers strike as 'Prime' sales arrive

A box for an Amazon prime customer moves through the new Amazon Fulfillment Center in Sacramento Ca

Some online shoppers are cancelling their Prime memberships in support of Amazon worker strikes and protests happening around the world on Amazon Prime Day, which officially kicked off on Monday.

In New York, a coalition of labor groups planned to deliver 250,000 petitions to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' Manhattan home calling on the company to cut business ties with ICE and end abusive working conditions in its warehouses.

Last week, workers in a fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota announced plans to strike on Amazon's busiest shopping event of the year over what they claimed are poor working conditions and productivity quotas.

Protests against the company's business practices and support for the Trump administration's anti-immigration agenda are scheduled to take place in at least seven cities as critics call on the public to show solidarity with the workers in Shakopee. Orhan Akman a retail specialist at Akman stated: "While Amazon fuels bargain hunting on Prime Day with hefty discounts, employees are being deprived of a living wage". Most of the workers at MSP1 are East African Muslims and they've previously protested Amazon's disregard for their religious practices.

"A higher wage is only one component of the fight for workers' rights", Sanders said in a tweet on Monday. This is the fifth year Amazon has done Prime Day, and this year they made it even bigger by making it a two day event.

While Amazon's earnings continue to grow, however, workers charged with filling orders at faster speeds are working under "endlessly brutal and punishing conditions", as reporter Ravie Lakshmanan put it.

The company's fifth annual Prime Day now stretches two days, Monday and Tuesday, invented as an effort to try to drum up sales during sluggish summer months and sign up more users for its Prime loyalty program. The wages employees earn are reportedly lacking, with most barely able to survive with the amount being given.

"Amazon proves every day that you can be a fair and responsible employer without a collective agreement", the spokesperson said.

Protests against the company were planned outside its offices in Seattle and San Francisco, while demonstrators in NY gathered at Bezos's luxury apartment building to deliver 270,000 signatures in support of workers' rights and demanding that Amazon cut ties with ICE and the Department of Homeland Security.

Demonstrators shout slogans and hold placards during a protest at the Amazon fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota, on December 14, 2018. "If these groups - unions and politicians they rally to their cause - really want to help the American worker, we encourage them to focus their energy on passing legislation for an increase in the federal minimun wage, because $7.25 is too low". Amazon does not expect the protests to impact operations in any way.



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