The Ugly Side of Prime Day

Amazon’s Prime Day is a day full of deals for their Prime members. Prime Day was actually yesterday, however, this is the first year that the company spread it over two days. Prime Day is a really big event for Amazon. Last year, Amazon earned around $4 Billion in sales on Prime Day.

The charge to boycott appeared on Twitter ahead of Prime Day’s kickoff on Monday, with the trending hashtags #BoycottAmazon, #AmazonStrike and #PrimeDayStrike. There’s an example of a tweet utilizing the hashtags below.

So, why are Amazon employees going on strike for Prime Day? As reported by Bloomberg, workers in Shakopee, Minnesota say the company has “failed to meet worker demands such as converting more temps to Amazon employees and permanently easing productivity quotas they allege make the jobs unsafe and insecure. In a letter last year to the National Labor Relations Board that was reported by The Verge, an attorney for Amazon said that hundreds of employees at one Baltimore facility were terminated within about a year for failing to meet productivity rates.”

Reports of harsh working conditions caused The New York Times to describe the mega-corporation as a “bruising workplace”. There’s a lot that happens behind the scenes to effectively handle the demands of the extra orders and expedited shipping that goes along with Prime Day. Workers are faced with long hours of physically demanding labor, which can lead to exhaustion, dehydration, and injuries.

According to a Vox article, “Bathroom breaks are timed, and so is “efficiency,” aka the time it takes for an employee to fill an order, as covered by the 2014 CNBC documentary Amazon Rising. Warehouse workers who fail to “make rate” are automatically fired, reports The Verge.”

Amazon’s shift from two-day to one-day shipping for Prime Members has put a toll on their employees. Also, not only employees have been protesting. Activists assembled Monday outside Amazon offices in San Francisco, Seattle, and CEO Jeff Bezos’s Manhattan condo to protest workers’ rights and the corporation’s ties to the Department of Homeland Security’s anti-immigration policies.

As Prime Day comes to an end, remember the workers behind the scenes fulfilling those orders and making the deliveries happen for not just this year, but also the years to come.

Written by: Bria Suggs