Police attack protesting Amazon workers

This video from the USA saays about itself:

Workers protest at Amazon fulfillment center in Shakopee

Amazon employees and others supporting the cause protested outside an Amazon fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota on Friday, Dec. 14. About 200 protestors gathered to voice concerns about working conditions inside the business.

By Anthony Bertolt in the USA:

Police break up Amazon workers’ protest over oppressive conditions

19 December 2018

Last weekend, Amazon workers demonstrated against productivity requirements at Amazon’s Shakopee, Minnesota fulfillment center. Over 200 people protested in the suburban area. Their demonstration ended with a march toward the front entrance of the warehouse, where over a dozen police vehicles immediately surrounded the protest and broke it up.

Earlier this year, Amazon was forced to negotiate with the Awood Center, a non-profit which organized Amazon workers in opposition to the unfair speed of work as well as against the company’s decision to deny religious workers time to pray. Minneapolis, near where the fulfillment center is located, is home to the largest East African immigrant community in Minnesota and the Awood Center reports that 60 percent of the Amazon workforce is East African. The East African workers are predominantly Muslim and were not given enough time to take prayer breaks.

Moreover, Amazon recently increased rates for many workers to 230 items per hour, a policy which will result in more injuries and arbitrary firings.

The World Socialist Web Site spoke with workers at the rally about the issues faced by Amazon workers in Minnesota and across the country. The workers said the fight for lower rates should involve all Amazon workers worldwide.

Jamal, a worker at the Shakopee fulfillment center told the WSWS, “At any moment, you could be fired or written up for being too slow. They want us to pack 230 items an hour, which means you have to scan and pack an item every 10 seconds. When you go to the bathroom, that counts against your rate. We can’t go to the bathroom, get hurt, or take a prayer break without fear of being fired.”

Jamal continued, adding that if no one took action against Amazon, “The rates are going to keep increasing, and no one will be able to keep up.”

Jamal agreed with the WSWS that the struggle of Amazon workers should be linked up with the rest of the working class, adding, “Jeff Bezos doesn’t understand how hard it is to work faster, while we made him rich.”

Another worker, who chose not to give her name, spoke about Amazon’s recent wage raise. “We get $16.50 an hour here in Shakopee”, she said. “Fifteen dollars an hour is not a big deal for Amazon. At my previous job, we had showers and longer breaks, and I made the same amount.”

While workers at the protest were voicing their opinions about low pay and high rates, the organizers made no clear demands aside from lowering the productivity requirements in general.

Amazon workers everywhere sympathize with the opposition that is developing among Minnesota workers to high rates, low wages and short breaks, both on the basis of demanding better working conditions, as well as for defending the right of Muslim workers to practice their religion free of discrimination. …

The struggle of East African Amazon workers in Minnesota is significant, and the eruption of anger over unsafe working conditions is a step in the resurgence of the class struggle worldwide.

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