Good things are happening! Workers and regulators are holding some of the country’s biggest corporations accountable for workers’ rights violations. Plus, an Arkansas judge makes a landmark gender-affirming ruling, NYC tenants get a climate break, and more.
Amazon Takes Some Hits
Amazon is in the hot seat. On Tuesday, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) launched an investigation into Amazon’s working conditions.
In a ten page letter to Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, Sanders details the company’s “uniquely dangerous” working conditions and “abysmal” on-site medical care. The letter asks Amazon to explain Amazon’s consistently disproportionate injury rates, high labor turnover, and lack of safety precautions, and requests the company turn over records of employee productivity and adverse employment actions at select facilities. Sanders is also seeking first-person testimonials from Amazon workers who want to share stories of employer treatment and working conditions.
“The time has come for Amazon to stop willfully violating workplace safety laws with impunity and commit to changing its operations to protect the health and safety of its workers,” Sanders wrote.
We’ve written about Amazon’s indifference to labor laws, safety regulations, and continued citations from the Department of Labor. This investigation seeks to finally move the needle and force the corporation –– which has an annual revenue of over $500 billion and more than 1 million employees –– to adhere to basic standards of decency.
Amazon is also under fire for how it treats consumers. On Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Amazon for enrolling customers in Amazon Prime, a paid membership program, without their consent. According to the FTC, Amazon has used “manipulative, coercive, or deceptive user-interface designs known as ‘dark patterns’ to trick consumers into enrolling in automatically renewing Prime subscriptions.” The lawsuit is the latest in a series of Biden Administration actions to rein in Amazon’s corporate power.
Meanwhile, in the UK, hundreds of Amazon workers have been staging strikes for fair pay since January –– despite Amazon not recognizing their union –– and just voted to extend the strike action for six more months.
One Bad Apple…
Tough week for tech giants. On Tuesday, a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) judge ruled that Apple’s union-busting at a store in New York City violated employee rights and national labor protections and ordered the company to cease and desist. It’s the first time the NLRB has ever ruled against Apple for union busting.