New York, NY – While Amazon watched “Cyber Monday” 2019 become the single biggest shopping day in the company’s history — an international gathering of unions, policy makers, activists and academics met in Brussels for an inaugural symposium aimed at confronting Amazon’s rapacious worldwide business model.
“Amazon is one of the defining issues of our time and the future world of work,” Stuart Appelbaum, head of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union [RWDSU] said in a statement. “This is why it’s so critical that we come together at this symposium to fully understand the options available to stop the devastating impact Amazon is having on our global workforce and economy. Amazon has a well-documented history of mistreating and dehumanizing its workers around the world. Amazon needs to understand that human beings are not robots – Amazon needs to change.”
Amazon made headlines this past year, here in New York City after Metropolitan Area workers went public with reports of hazardous working conditions inside Amazon’s existing warehouse facility on Staten Island. A number of those whistleblowers lost their jobs as a result.
This week’s symposium in Brussels consisted of five panels looking at Amazon’s record on labour rights and paying taxes, it’s monopoly power, privacy and digital rights and Amazon’s response to the climate crisis.
“This symposium is a necessary step towards joining stakeholders’ power across issues and across continents to make the company fulfill its social responsibilities,” UNI Global Union General Secretary Christy Hoffman said in a statement. “Today, we moved closer to a common understanding about the effect of Amazon’s power and also about the dangers of allowing one of the world’s largest corporations—led by the world’s richest man—to call the shots that determine our future.”