“We have to keep up the pace. My workday seems like an intense nine-hour workout every day. And they keep track of all our movements: if the computer doesn’t scan, you’ll be charged for being out of work, said Bates, a learning ambassador who helps train other workers at the facility and who has been a vocal organizer behind the union push. “From the beginning, I knew that if I worked too slow or had too much time off work, I could be disciplined or even fired.”
Bates was invited by Senator Bernie Sanders to speak on “The Crisis of Income and Wealth Inequality in America.” Amazon’s outgoing CEO Jeff Bezos was also invited to speak, but declined the offer. In a statement last week, an Amazon spokesman said, “We fully support Senator Sanders’ efforts to reduce income inequality with legislation to raise the federal minimum wage to $ 15 per hour for all workers.” as we did for ours in 2018 “.
“We take employee feedback seriously, including that of Ms. Bates, but we don’t think her feedback represents more than 90% of her colleagues at the compliance center who say they would recommend Amazon as an ideal place to work with friends and relatives, “an Amazon spokesman said Wednesday in a statement. The spokesman added that Amazon employees “earn at least $ 15 an hour, receive comprehensive health care and paid leave benefits.”
Bates described 10-hour shifts with only two 30-minute breaks that “aren’t long enough to give you time to rest” given the large extent of the facility.
“Just walking a lot to the bathroom and back eating a lovely rest time,” said Bates, who said the facility’s elevators had signage indicating they were “just material, no pilots”. “I couldn’t believe they were building a facility with so many elevators for materials and getting employees to take the stairs of a huge four-flight facility.”
As previously reported by CNN Business, Amazon has conducted an aggressive anti-union campaign before the vote. Workers were often informed of Amazon’s stance that a union is an unnecessary expense. Workers saw anti-union signage at bathroom stops; they met individually on the warehouse floor and were also required to attend group meetings every few shifts. The company sent numerous text messages to workers and launched an anti-union website warning against paying dues: “Don’t buy that dinner, don’t buy this school supplies, don’t buy these gifts because you won’t have nearly $ 500 you paid in quotas “.
“It’s frustrating that all we want is to make Amazon a better place to work. Still, Amazon acts like they’re under attack. Maybe if they spent less time (and money) trying to stop the union, they’d hear what we’re saying. And maybe they would create a company as good for workers and our community as it is for shareholders and executives, ”Bates said.
“Why can’t such a big, rich company do better for its workers?” Bates said. “Amazon even took the wages of our essential workers in the midst of the pandemic. Meanwhile, Amazon has made tons of money during this crisis. Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world. And now he’s even richer thanks to the our workers “.
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