Amazon protestors march to CEO Jeff Bezos' mansion to demand $2 raise10/12/2020
Former Amazon workers have protested outside Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ mansion to demand fairer pay and safer working conditions for staff.
The group reportedly behind the protest, The Congress of Essential Workers (T.C.O.E.W.), was founded by Christian Smalls, a former worker who was fired by Amazon in March shortly after organising protests against a lack of protective gear for employees.
On T.C.O.E.W.’s website, Smalls describes his former employer’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis as ‘abysmal’ and says hundreds of thousands of workers have been put at risk.
Amazon said Smalls was fired for ‘violating social distancing guidelines and putting the safety of others at risk.’
According to VICE, Smalls told the crowd: ‘Cancel your Prime, stand in solidarity with the workers. You don’t need Jeff Bezos. He needs us.
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‘We made him the richest man in the world.’
The group’s demands included free childcare and healthcare for all employees, for Amazon to be ‘transparent and honest about the number of cases they have in their facilities’, and for locations that have been the site of coronavirus outbreaks to be sanitised and kept closed for at least two weeks with full pay for affected employees.
They also demanded that employees receive a $30 minimum wage, and hazard pay of $2 per hour until the end of the pandemic – something the company stopped providing in June.
The Congress of Essential Workers said in a statement: ‘We demand that Jeff Bezos and the rest of the billionaire class pay their fair share to deal with the climate crisis.
‘We are calling for a decent living wage of $30/hour minimum for all Amazon employees, Medicare and childcare for all, and the right to unionize without fear of retaliation.
‘These are just a few of the issues that we feel billionaires like Jeff Bezos, who makes nearly $4,000 a second, can absolutely help relieve or resolve.’
Following the previous week’s news that over 19,000 Amazon workers had tested positive for Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic, the rally also observed a moment of silence for employees who had died of the virus.
NBCNews reported last month that at least 10 of Amazon’s workers have died of coronavirus, a figure the company has confirmed.
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