Activists Protest Against Amazon

Published 2 months ago -

Caleb White, Campus Life & Online Editor

On Black Friday, labor activists took to the streets of New York City to join a worldwide demonstration against top retailer Amazon.

According to NBC News, one of the “Make Amazon Pay” rallies took place right outside one of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ homes in Manhattan on Friday, Nov. 25. Workers and labor activists, some from the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), declared they want shoppers to not give into Amazon’s deals and spend their money on local and small businesses.

Kathryne Harper, who works for a Williamsburg bookstore, was one of the demonstrators demanding better working conditions and pay for Amazon workers. 

“I get asked all the time if we price-match with Amazon,” Harper said in an NBC News interview. “The answer is always no. I have to tell them that we charge full price for books because our workers get things like bathroom breaks and fair wages.”

Kelly Nantel, an Amazon spokesperson, defended the company in a Newsweek report.

“A coalition of organizations have been encouraging protests at Amazon sites on Black Friday. These groups represent a variety of interests, and while we are not perfect in any area, if you objectively look at what Amazon is doing on these important matters, you’ll see that we do take our role and our impact very seriously,” Nantel said.

This response failed to satisfy protestors. “Workers are tired of being treated like a disposable commodity,” Stuart Appelbaum of RWDSU told NBC News.

Some high-profile figures, such as Senator Bernie Sanders, also called out the company for their business practices. “On #BlackFriday, I stand in solidarity with Amazon workers who are on strikes & walkouts all over the world. If Amazon can afford to pay its CEO $214 million, if Jeff Bezos can afford a $500 million yacht, Amazon can afford to give workers decent raises & end its union busting,” he tweeted Friday afternoon.


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