Amazon's Big Breakdown

“In February, the company drew backlash by firing Justin Rashad Long, an employee who had called attention to working conditions at the facility, helping to renew a drive by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union to organize workers there. ‘Normally, we’re reaching out to workers,’ Stuart Appelbaum, the president of the union, said about Amazon. ‘Now, people are reaching out to us.’ No Amazon warehouse workers in the United States are currently unionized, and the company has been aggressive in pushing back against workers’ efforts to do so. At Whole Foods, the company reportedly maintained a ‘heat map’ of stores’ ‘risk’ of unionizing, taking into account factors like local union membership, diversity (greater diversity is less ‘risk’) and sales. Appelbaum sees the pandemic as a possible turning point, not just for labor but for the public’s attitude about Amazon. ‘They feast on public subsidies, they avoid paying taxes and they mistreat employees,’ he said. The pandemic, he added, ‘magnified the health and safety problems that were there already.’ The workers’ demands during the pandemic are, by and large, unchanged: more safety; more attentiveness to worker health, both physical and mental; more pay, especially considering the risks they take on.”

read it at the NY Times Magazine