Maybe because I’ve had a bit of a cantankerous morning today. Maybe because I’m watching a specifically inflammatory episode of Criminal Minds, one of the ones that gets me really fired up. But whatever it is, I had to spill. I’ve been noodling on this topic for a long time and it’s just really starting to overflow. I’ll be posting this too on my Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/dondi.
An Amazon driver just dropped off a package for me at 8:05pm on Sunday night. He had a kind affect and appreciative demeanor when I said I’m so sorry for the treatment he receives from his employer. He came into my apartment -at my invitation- and fed some treats to Sox (that he had with him…he carried treats in case he comes across any kitties, which just blew my mind). We shared a brief conversation largely centered around exploitative labor practices and I asked if I could give him a hug. He was such a truly sweet, kind, lovely man, and I thought, I bet there are things he would rather be doing on a waning Sunday evening than delivering packages for possibly the most horrible company -in terms of how they treat their employees- on the planet.
Anybody else around here want to gather as many Amazon shoppers as possible and go on a weeklong (or longer) Amazon fast so that we can all show Bozo who really runs his ship? Imagine, literally nobody orders from Amazon for a week. It might just bring it, and Bozo, to its knees (my friend Jon Murphy can probably better advise on this). Or at least send a wake-up call, that their terrible labor practices won’t be tolerated, that humans deserve better treatment, and that people’s lives are worth more than free overnight shipping.
I realize that there are plenty of people drinking the Kool-Aid and saying that Amazon has revolutionized so much, their employees are fairly compensated, etc. None of that is true. We all continue to be slaves to an enormous monopoly, consumers and employees alike. Slaves to ludicrously fast shipping, and labor practices that push employees to the brink or worse by the THOUSANDS EVERY DAY, and for what? The chance to be further exploited, ourselves?
I’m sick of the massively well-documented, brutal labor practices, the anti-unionization, the pee jars, the fact that they open up in labor deserts and people have to work there because it’s the only gig in town. I’m sick of us not being able to wait a few fucking days for our merchandise; the last time I ordered from them I was informed it would be there “overnight, between 4-8am”. Is it just me or does anyone else think this is a completely unfair practice? Do YOU want to get up at 3am to start a package delivery route for the most horrifically exploitative company in the world, which pays $15-20 an hour, while $25 is largely considered the base living wage at this time? Where employees have no voice, no backing, and management has next to zero accountability?
What can we do? What do you think? Are pee bottles and nervous breakdowns on shift the new normal, or can we be better…people, citizens, friends, more? Why don’t we strive to be better? Is instant shipping really worth that much? How can we sleep at night with the blood of so many on our collective hands?
Host John Oliver of Last Week Tonight, produced by HBO but available a few days later on YouTube for free (a comfortable arrangement if, like me, you’re looking to lower your entertainment budget rather than increase it) has produced many shows on Amazon, but I believe the best one on their labor practices is his show about “Union Busting”. Be warned: if this topic is already getting you riled up, this may leave you enraged.
I’m interested in hearing from anyone and everyone from this but especially people who love Amazon and consider their practices to be justified, or maybe just not bad enough to warrant action? To give up next-day shipping, free overnights? What is your reasoning? How does this work for you? I’m genuinely compelled and curious about this.
I love you all, and I hope to hear back from you.
Dondi & Sox