8 Amazon Prime Day Tips You Should Know Before Buying

Don’t shop Amazon’s deals without learning about these first.

Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Amazon Prime Day is here, finally, after being postponed for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Today, hundreds of thousands of Amazon warehouse workers and delivery drivers will be pushed to work under grueling conditions and surveillance to deliver packages to your doorstep very quickly. Prime Day has become a bleak capitalistic holiday during which millions of orders are processed and, in order to meet Amazon’s 48-hour delivery timelines on $18.99 Amazon Echos, $114.99 AirPods, and $1,500, 55-gallon drums of lube, thousands of workers around the country work long, difficult hours in the company’s warehouses and “fulfillment centers.”

During the pandemic, Amazon’s workers have been retaliated against over and over again when they’ve tried to organize for safer working conditions. In a statement addressing Amazon Prime customers today, Amnesty International wrote that the non-profit organization is “alarmed by the growing evidence in recent months that Amazon is interfering with workers’ rights to organize, and investing significant resources in monitoring workers and the perceived ‘threat’ of potential trade union activity.”

Below we’d outlined some reasons why Prime Day and every day is a bad day to shop on Amazon.

1: Amazon Warehouse Workers Say the Company is Failing to Honor Pregnancy Accommodations

Pregnant Amazon employees at a facility in Oklahoma City, known as OKC1, recently described the systemic failure on the part of the company to quickly accommodate pregnancy restrictions, forcing pregnant women to choose between risking miscarriages and sacrificing their income.

“I’m on a leave of absence but my bills aren’t stopping,” one pregnant warehouse worker, Michelle Posey, told Motherboard in September. “I’ve lost my house twice since I became pregnant. I couldn’t make rent. Because of Amazon’s lagging and the accommodations team’s failure to do their job, it’s fallen back on me.”

2: Whole Foods Suggests That Workers Share Paid Time Off During Coronavirus

At the start of the pandemic, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey sent out an email to employees suggesting that they “donate” their paid time off to their coworkers facing medical emergencies during the pandemic.

3: Amazon Delivery Drivers Are Overwhelmed and Overworked by Covid-19 Surge

Amazon’s contracted delivery drivers told Motherboard that their workloads have dramatically increased during the Covid-19 pandemic, in some cases more than doubling, forcing drivers to pee in cups in their vans in order to finish their quotas on time.

“[Our contractor] told us our workload would be decreasing because of Coronavirus, but it got way worse. I ached everywhere. It killed me,” an Amazon delivery driver told Motherboard. “At the end of my shifts, I was coming into the delivery station with my eyes closing on the freeway. It’s a system that is designed to make you fail.”

4: Whole Foods Employees Are Staging a Nationwide ‘Sick-Out’

In March, Whole Foods employees staged a national strike to protest the lack of protections offered to workers during the coronavirus pandemic. For weeks, Whole Foods prohibited workers from wearing face masks.

5: Hundreds of Amazon Workers Are Not Going to Work in Nationwide Protest

In April, hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers at 50 facilities across the country pledged to call out of work to protest Amazon’s handling of the coronavirus—the largest mass action against the company since the start of the pandemic.

6: Amazon Posted a Job Listing for an Intelligence Analyst to Track ‘Labor Organizing Threats’

Last month, Amazon posted two job listings for analysts that could keep tabs on sensitive and confidential topics “including labor organizing threats against the company.” Amazon has since removed the job posting, calling it “an error.”

7: Amazon Uses a Secret Program to Spy On Workers’ Private Facebook Groups

If that doesn’t make Amazon’s anti-labor sentiments clear enough, in September, Motherboard revealed that Amazon uses a sophisticated, secret program to surveil dozens of private Facebook groups set up by Amazon Flex drivers for “planning for any strike or protest against Amazon.” Since Motherboard published the article, Amazon promised to dismantle the program.

8: An Amazon Employee Warned Internal Groups They’re Being Monitored For Labor Organizing

Amazon confirmed that it monitors internal listservs run by its employees including black-employee-network@, transgender@, indigenous@, arabs@, persians@, latinos@, colombianos@, and dozens of others.

We don’t know why Amazon is watching these listservs, but an Amazon Web Services employee warned workers the program exists to monitor labor organizing.

Lauren Kaori Gurley
Via Motherboard

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