LA Joins National Day of Action Ahead of Amazon Shareholders Meeting, Calls on Fidelity Investments to Vote on Side of Workers and Community
(Los Angeles, CA) On Monday, May 24, Amazon workers, elected officials, and community allies held a protest in Santa Monica, CA at one of the company’s largest shareholders, Fidelity Investments, joining protests across the nation calling on shareholders to cast their votes with communities and calling on them to protect workers by supporting policies such as the Warehouse Workers Protection Act.
The protest comes days before the Amazon shareholders meeting on Wednesday, May 26 with workers and community members impacted by Amazon calling on Liberty Investments to vote for a set of shareholder proposals demanding Amazon change its practices to be more accountable to workers, communities, and other stakeholders, including resolutions demanding Amazon cut ties with ICE, roll back anti-competitive monopoly practices, reduce its carbon footprint, and improve working conditions.
“We are asking Fidelity Investments to stand with us and put people over profit by voting on resolutions that support our communities, and supporting policies that protect the safety and health of warehouse workers, such as the Warehouse Workers Protection Act,” said Ron Herrera, President of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “Warehouse jobs, such as those at the center of Amazon, have become some of the most dangerous in the country. We call on Fidelity Investments and all the investors attending the shareholders meeting to vote in on the side of workers and our community.”
“I always felt the stress of having to work fast or even ignore my personal needs like restroom or water breaks because I didn’t want to be written up and terminated for it and this is something lots of workers fear everyday,” said Yesenia Barrera, former Amazon warehouse worker. “I saw lots of my coworkers lose their jobs for it as well as for time off task. TOT is this monitoring system that keeps track of every worker’s work, how many items they can pack per second and per hour, and even informs managers when a worker has not scanned or moved a box for a couple minutes. Amazon adds up your time off task at the end of the day and that determines if you get a write up or let go. This causes lots of workers to work faster but at the cost of their bodies. Workers are getting injured at high rates to meet this pace of work for Amazon. Major injuries workers end up having are in the back, shoulders, knees, wrist and those are sprains, strains, tears and bruising due to pace of work.”
The action included a fully interactive warehouse demonstration with conveyor belt and shelving. The immersive experience gave participants a glimpse of the incredible physical and mental stress that warehouse workers experience day-in and day-out.
“It is real important for us to understand this concept of shared property,” said Oscar De La Torre, Santa Monica City Councilmember. “These companies are making billions of dollars. Not millions, but billions of dollars. Even during the pandemic, they are the ones benefiting and they need to share that prosperity, not just so that working men and women see increases in their salaries, but so that their children can benefit.”
Authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (AD 80), AB 701, the Warehouse Workers Protection Act, would protect frontline warehouse workers by requiring employers to disclose quotas and work speed standards to workers and state enforcement agencies. It would also prohibit employers from penalizing workers for time spent on complying with health and safety laws and direct Cal/OSHA to create a standard to minimize injuries and protect workers against arbitrary and abusive work quota systems.
Amazon’s own records show that its workers were injured on the job at double the average rate of the general warehousing industry and triple the average rate across all private employers in 2018. In fact, Amazon warehouse workers are injured more frequently than coal miners, lumberjacks, trash collectors, and police officers.
Press Conference/Demonstration FB Live Link: https://fb.watch/5IayDKy3Xt/
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