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Amazon workers protest Black Friday in 30 other countries

Amazon workers and activists in 30 countries marked the traditional start of the holiday shopping season with a series of walkouts and protests to demand better pay and working conditions.

Activists, labor unions and Amazon employees march outside company founder Jeff Bezos’ penthouse in the tony Flatiron district in Manhattan.

Outside St. Louis, a few dozen workers walked out of the massive STL8 facility Friday afternoon. This is the second unexpected strike at the 900,000-square-foot fulfillment center, where workers staged a strike in September to protest pay and working conditions. Workers at the workplace are demanding a $10-an-hour raise and say that because of improved working conditions, too many workers are getting injured on the job.

Groups associated with the campaign are promoting it on Twitter under the hashtag #makeamazonpay, They have many demands. Many are demanding higher wages, an end to worker supervision, and a faster pace of work suited to higher-than-average rates of workplace injuries.

Labor action is also planned at Amazon-owned Whole Foods stores and at other locations in Bessemer, Alabama; Columbia, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; Durham, North Carolina; Garner, North Carolina; Joliet, Illinois; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; and Washington, DC

In Germany, workers demonstrated at nine of Amazon’s 20 warehouses in the country, the company told Reuters, although it said the “vast majority” of employees reported to work as usual.

In Coventry, England, workers rallied outside an Amazon facility in the evening chanting, “We are not robots.”

In Buenos Aires, Argentina, some activists rallied in front of the National Congress building carrying “Pay Amazon” signs.

Amazon did not respond to a request for comment on the action.

“On Black Friday, already named #MakeAmazonPay Day, unions, civil society and progressive elected officials stand shoulder to shoulder in a massive global day of action to kill worker-led union efforts to kill Amazon’s hateful multimillion Dollar’s campaigns,” Christy Hoffman, general secretary of UNI Global Union, a group leading the protests, said in a statement. “It’s time for the tech giants to stop their terrible, unsafe practices immediately, respect the law, and negotiate with workers who want to improve their jobs.”

global protest

According to UNI, the countries where Amazon is facing strikes and protests are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Japan, Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, South Africa, Turkey and UK

Monica Di Silvestre, an official with Ver.di, a German labor group that helped organize the #MakeAmazonPay campaign, told Bloomberg that workers are particularly concerned about Amazon’s use of computers to monitor their productivity.

“Workers are under a lot of pressure with these algorithms,” she said. “It doesn’t differentiate between workers, whether they are old or have limited mobility. Workers lie awake at night thinking only about their productivity figures.”

Nearly half of all injuries reported in US warehouses in 2021 happened on amazonA coalition of unions, according to the Center for Strategic Planning.

According to the SOC report, “Amazon employed a third of all warehouse workers in the US, but it was responsible for nearly half (49%) of all injuries in the warehouse industry.”

Amazon has previously defended its safety record and denied that the company’s warehouses have high injury rates.


Union vs Amazon: The Story of David and Goliath

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The company has faced increasing pressure from workers wanting to unionize in the US. Earlier this year, a warehouse on Staten Island in New York City became the first Amazon fulfillment center to host, and other facilities have also filed for collective bargaining rights. Recently, workers at an Amazon warehouse in upstate New York voted against unionization,

A federal judge last week ordered Amazon to stop retaliating against employees who participate in workplace activism. The ruling came in a court case brought by the National Labor Relations Board, which sued Amazon in March seeking reinstatement of a dismissed employee involved in organizing the company’s Staten Island warehouse.

—CBS News’ Irina Ivanova and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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