In the light of this pandemic, it is imperative that we protect workers immediately, prevent the exploitation of this crisis by management, and consider how to use this moment to advance demands that last far beyond the coronavirus.
How do we do this? What is happening and what can we learn from each other?
Almost 900 people joined a Labor Notes webinar to hear from educators, an Amazon worker, and a worker center organizer about their successes organizing in the face of the coronavirus.
Direct action gets the goods. If your employer is still not acting like workers’ lives matter, take a page from union members who are putting muscle behind their bargaining—they're shutting the place down first.
Employers, like the government, have been slow to respond to the crisis. Amazon initially limited its response to its tech offices, including in Seattle, where two workers tested positive for COVID-19. Office workers were told to work from home through March, and the company stopped employees’ “non-essential” travel.
Amazon is today’s most high-profile corporate villain. It’s the devil incarnate to activists concerned with labor standards, climate change, public subsidies, and the deportation machine.
But for all the condemnation of CEO Jeff Bezos, why have no U.S. Amazon workers managed to unionize?
Much like Uber, Amazon grew under labor's inattentive eye. By the time unions and worker centers saw the threat it posed, it was already a formidable opponent. It now threatens union bastions like supermarkets, UPS, and the Postal Service.