Amazon workers denounce working conditions
17 April 2017
In recent years, Amazon has become one of the fastest-growing and most valuable companies in the world. According to the Financial Times Global 500 rankings, Amazon has the fourth greatest market capitalization, jumping from 33rd in 2015 and now trailing only Apple, Google and Microsoft.
The Seattle, Washington-based online retail giant has an estimated 341,000 employees in at least 30 countries around the world. At the end of 2016, Amazon had roughly 180,000 full-time employees in the US, a six-fold increase since 2011. In January, the company announced plans to hire 100,000 more full-time workers in the US by mid-2018. This will be largely through the building of new fulfillment centers (warehouses as large as one-million square-feet or roughly the size of 28 football fields), which contain inventory from suppliers and enable Amazon to increasingly offer same-day delivery services for many of its products.
The rise of Amazon has funneled unfathomable wealth to the company’s founder, chairman and CEO, Jeff Bezos, who recently surpassed Warren Buffett to become the second-richest person in the world, with a total wealth of $76.9 billion. In 2016 alone, Bezos amassed $27.6 billion, largely through the rise in the value of company shares. This amount is enough to pay each of Amazon’s worldwide employees a salary of $80,938, or a wage of roughly $39 per hour.
The immense wealth accumulated by Bezos has been produced by the labor of Amazon workers, who are highly exploited and paid close to the minimum wage for highly physically-demanding work. The company uses state-of-the-art technology to maximize the output it extracts from every worker and has been routinely cited for workplace safety…