NATIONAL NEWS

Amazon Spends Another $500M On Bonuses. Some Of Its Workers Still Going On Strike

Nov 27, 2020, 9:35 AM
FILE: Packed orders move down a converyor belt at an Amazon fullfillment center. (Photo by Rick T. ...
FILE (Photo by Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images)
(Photo by Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images)

Amazon is spending another $500 million on bonuses for employees as it comes under pressure from a global campaign targeting its business practices and a strike in one of its biggest European markets.

The company announced the bonuses on the eve of Black Friday, as protests against Amazon in Germany and elsewhere were getting underway ahead of the busy shopping weekend.

Amazon’s senior vice president for worldwide operations, Dave Clark, said that front-line US employees will receive a $300 bonus, while part-time employees will get $150. UK employees will receive bonuses of £300 ($400) and £150 ($200), respectively.

Clark said in a statement that the company is spending $2.5 billion this year on “special bonuses and incentives” for teams globally, including the “thank you” bonus it paid workers in June.

Amazon has been one of few retailers to thrive amid the pandemic. The company expects revenues to exceed $100 billion for the first time in the fourth quarter, bringing total sales for 2020 to more than $370 billion — a third higher than last year.

Its performance has emboldened unions and civil society groups that argue it should go much further in its commitments to workers and the environment. Several dozen organizations, including Greenpeace, Oxfam, Progressive International and the Tax Justice Network, are using Black Friday to call attention to concerns about worker compensation and safety, as well as Amazon’s carbon footprint and tax practices.

“It is great that workers are getting more this holiday season, [but] it is not enough,” said Christy Hoffman, general secretary of UNI Global Union, an umbrella organization for trade unions and one of the groups that has signed the “Make Amazon Pay” petition.

“To show it values its workforce, Amazon should collectively bargain wages and conditions with workers throughout its operations, rather than make one time unilateral gestures of appreciation,” she added.

In Germany, one of Amazon’s biggest markets in Europe, trade union Verdi has called for a three-day strike at seven of the company’s fulfillment centers. The union wants Amazon to recognize a collective labor agreement that covers wages, bonuses and paid time off.

Verdi has comparable contracts in place with other German retailers and has been staging strikes since at least 2013 in an attempt to get Amazon to agree to something similar. The union’s spokesperson Andre Scheer confirmed the strike was underway and that roughly 2,500 workers were expected to participate by the time it ends on Saturday night.

Amazon said the action won’t affect customer deliveries because it has 26,000 employees, including 10,000 seasonal workers, handling orders in 16 fulfillment centers across Germany. “The overwhelming majority of employees are doing their every day job,” said Stephan Eichenseher, a company spokesperson.

“The fact is we already offer excellent pay, excellent benefits and excellent opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern work environment,” he added.

Amazon’s warehouse employees in Germany start on a salary of between €11.30 ($13.49) and €12.70 ($15.16) per hour, depending on the site, according to Eichenseher. The country’s minimum wage is €9.35 ($11.16) per hour.

Walkouts and protests will be taking place on Black Friday in 15 countries around the world, according to UNI Global Union, including Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Mexico, Spain and India. In Bangladesh, garment workers are demonstrating outside an Amazon supplier and demanding higher wages, UNI said.

Britain’s GMB Union on Friday called for a parliamentary inquiry into what it said were “dehumanizing” working conditions. A spokesperson for Amazon UK said that no strikes are taking place at any of its fulfillment centers in Britain.

“This is a series of misleading assertions by misinformed or self-interested groups who are using Amazon’s profile to further their individual causes,” Amazon said in response to the claims by unions and civil society groups that it is mistreating workers and the environment.

“Amazon has a strong track record of supporting our employees, our customers, and our communities, including providing safe working conditions, competitive wages and great benefits, leading on climate change with the Climate Pledge commitment to be net zero carbon by 2040, and paying billions of pounds in taxes globally.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Irina, left, and Kevin McCarthy were killed in the Fourth of July mass shooting in suburban Chicago...
Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN

2-year-old orphaned in parade shooting was shielded by his father as the wounded man lay dying

By his father's final act of heroism, Aiden McCarthy survived Monday's carnage at a July Fourth parade in suburban Chicago. But the 2-year-old now is left to grow up without either of his parents.
12 hours ago
Brittney Griner #42 of the Phoenix Mercury during the first half in Game Four of the 2021 WNBA semi...
Associated Press

Biden tells Griner’s wife he’s working to get her home

The White House says President Joe Biden has called the wife of WNBA player Brittney Griner, who is detained in Russia, and has pledged that he is working to win her release as soon as possible.
12 hours ago
CAPSTONE revealed in lunar Sunrise...
Associated Press

Contact restored with NASA spacecraft headed to lunar orbit

NASA says contact has been restored with a spacecraft headed to the moon to test out a lopsided lunar orbit.
12 hours ago
Jacki Sundheim has been identified by her synagogue as one of the six people killed in the Fourth o...
Alisha Ebrahimji, Sara Smart and Sharif Paget, CNN

Victims in deadly Independence Day parade shooting identified

What was supposed to be a patriotic celebration turned into a day of tragedy and fear when a gunman killed seven people and injured dozens more at a July Fourth parade in Highland Park, Illinois.
12 hours ago
First responders work the scene of a shooting at a Fourth of July parade on July 4, 2022 in Highlan...
MICHAEL TARM, KATHLEEN FOODY and STEPHEN GROVES, Associated Press

Prosecutor: July 4 parade shooter confessed to police

The man charged with killing seven people when he unleashed a hail of bullets on an Independence Day parade in suburban Chicago confessed to police that he fired on the crowd. That's according to a prosecutor who spoke in court Wednesday.
12 hours ago
FILE: Carlos Santana performs onstage during the Pre-GRAMMY Gala and GRAMMY Salute to Industry Icon...
Associated Press

Rocker Carlos Santana ‘doing well’ after collapsing onstage

Guitar icon Carlos Santana collapsed on stage during a show in Michigan and was rushed to a hospital, later blaming the episode on forgetting to eat or drink water.
12 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Amazon Spends Another $500M On Bonuses. Some Of Its Workers Still Going On Strike