Several dozen Amazon employees protest at Bezos’ NYC Penthouse on Cyber Monday

Several dozen Amazon employees protest at Bezos’ NYC Penthouse on Cyber Monday

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On Cyber Monday, more than three dozen demonstrators rallied outside the Manhattan penthouse of Jeff Bezos, Chief Executive Officer of the world’s biggest online retailer Amazon.

A group in San Bernardino protested in the evening near an Amazon warehouse in the Inland Empire, a key logistics hub serving southern California. At the rally outside Bezos’s building, the protesters chanted “We’re cold, we’re wet and we’re holding Amazon in check” and “Bezos, Bezos you can’t hide, we can see your greedy side.”

The coordinated efforts seek to steer the attention from the big Cyber Monday discounts Amazon is offering to warehouse worker deaths and injuries, the environmental costs of fast delivery and the increasing amount of information tech companies gather about customers. At a first-ever Amazon Symposium in Brussels, activists discussed issues such as worker rights, antitrust laws, and climate change.

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President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have also publicly criticized Amazon.

“Surging protests reflect in part the politics of the moment and the heightened political visibility of Amazon on many fronts,” said Margaret O’Mara, a history professor at the University of Washington. “For labor and social justice activists, it has become a potent symbol of what has gone wrong with modern capitalism.”

About 100 protesters marched in front of a driveway at an Amazon shipping hub in San Bernardino, blocking shipping trucks. Participants voiced concerns about Amazon’s growing presence in the region and what it means for workers and air pollution, Yahoo News reports.

Social media response around Amazon and Cyber Monday was positive, with 95% of mentions deemed positive and 5% negative, according Brandwatch, which monitored 90,000 mentions of “Cyber Monday” and “Amazon” on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook and forums like Reddit in the period from Nov. 23 to Dec. 2.

In an email statement, Amazon said, “self-interested critics, particularly unions and groups funded by our competitors, have a vested interest in spreading misinformation about Amazon but the facts tell a different story.”

Amazon said it has invested more than $270 billion in the United States since 2011 and created more than 400,000 jobs. The company has committed to a $15 minimum wage for all of its workers, following criticism about wages in its warehouses. It has also pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

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Image courtesy of U.S. Secretary of Defense

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