Dozens of activists groups form national coalition against Amazon
As Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach, a new grass-roots campaign is taking on one of the biggest retailers — Amazon.
The New York Times reports that the coalition, Athena, is made up of three dozen groups focused on issues like antitrust and warehouse conditions. This comes after a series of successful efforts to rein Amazon’s power.
The Seattle Transit Riders Union is a part of the group. Katie Wilson is the General Secretary and spoke with KIRO Radio.
“We really saw during Amazon’s search for a second headquarters that the company is willing to pit cities and regions against each other,” she said. “I think here in Seattle we’ve seen firsthand Amazon’s threat to our democracy, they put almost a million and a half dollars into our city council elections this fall, which is really just a shocking amount of money. Yet for Amazon that’s pennies.”
This comes as the Economic Roundtable nonprofit released a report that the company is “too big to govern.” The coalition plans to take on issues including warehouse conditions, environmental impacts, a nationwide $15 minimum wage, and Amazon’s potential to influence elections.
“It’s been clear that Amazon’s size, power and scale is abusive, and they are hurtful to all kinds of communities across the country,” said Dania Rajendra, Athena Director. “The research is clear: the more these facilities are automated, the worse it is for the humans that work there, and the central demands among workers we talk to is that ‘We are humans, not robots.'”
In response to the coalition, Amazon issued a statement:
“Self-interested critics, particularly unions and groups funded by our competitors, have a vested interest in spreading misinformation about Amazon but the facts tell a different story. Amazon has invested more than $270 billion in the United States since 2011 and created more than 400,000 direct jobs in the U.S. and over 680,000 additional jobs in areas like construction, logistics, and other professional services,” an Amazon spokeswoman said.
“Amazon provides industry leading pay and benefits, including a $15 minimum starting wage, comprehensive healthcare coverage, five-months of maternity leave – and we’re investing $700 million to upskill 100,000 of our people to expand their skills and grow into new careers.”