New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, together with a bunch of different lawmakers, are demanding that the Occupational Security and Well being Administration (OSHA) examine the office circumstances of Amazon.
“The working circumstances at this extremely worthwhile firm have been described as ‘unsafe,’ ‘bruising,’ ‘grueling,’ ‘a recipe for catastrophe,’ placing ‘staff and communities in danger’ and ‘intrusive,'” the lawmakers’ letter states, earlier than citing the latest stoppage organized by Amazon warehouse staff at a facility in Minneapolis, Minn., meant to protest unfair, unsafe practices.
The letter, which was additionally signed by Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar, who addressed protesting staff and activists exterior the Minneapolis facility in December, states: “This work surroundings creates a excessive threat of bodily accidents, a threat elevated by Amazon’s intentional disregard for the well being and security of their workers.”
Amazon downplayed the allegations and questioned timing of the letter.
“It was apparent to the 1,500-full-time workforce that an outdoor group used Prime Day to lift its personal visibility, conjured misinformation and some affiliate voices to work of their favor, and relied on political rhetoric to gas media consideration,” a spokesperson for Amazon advised Gizmodo.
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“If Rep. Omar and Sen Sanders actually need to assist the American employee, they need to concentrate on passing laws that raises the federal minimal wage —$7.25 is simply too low,” the spokesperson added. “As for the letter, we welcome OSHA to go to our amenities, simply as we provide public excursions to any member of the general public. They may see that we provide a secure office with business main pay beginning at $15/hr, advantages, and schooling alternatives.”
Sanders is one in all a number of Democrats operating for the 2020 presidential nomination advocating rising the minimal wage to $15 per hour. A latest search of OSHA’s violations database reveals greater than 150 outcomes for probes into Amazon’s amenities, together with at the least 29 that discovered violations — reminiscent of at this New Jersey success heart.
“A whole bunch of tales shared with our workplaces paint an image of desperation and a company employer with little regard for the well being of its workers,” the letter states, including that staff complained of excessive temperatures at some places and never being allowed to take water or toilet breaks. “We heard from an Amazon employee who described the warehouse as a ’21st century sweatshop.'”
In addition to the push by U.S. lawmakers to analyze working circumstances and probe potential antitrust violations, Amazon is going through a backlash abroad.
The European Union introduced on Wednesday that it’ll launch an antitrust probe into whether or not the tech large is misusing its twin function as a market for impartial sellers and a purveyor of its personal retail merchandise.
“European shoppers are more and more buying on-line. E-commerce has boosted retail competitors and introduced extra alternative and higher costs,” mentioned Margrethe Vestager, EU commissioner in command of competitors coverage, in a press release. “We have to make sure that massive on-line platforms do not eradicate these advantages by way of anti-competitive behaviour.”
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