2020 Dems Support Amazon Workers' Prime Day Strike
On Monday, Amazon launched its "Prime Day" promotional event, granting special deals to Prime members. In 2017, Prime Day rang in more sales than Black Friday. Amazon workers in Minnesota capitalized on the media opportunity to launch a strike for better wages. Candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination also seized on the opportunity to attack the big bad corporations and support workers.
"I fully support Amazon workers' Prime Day strike. Their fight for safe and reliable jobs is another reminder that we must come together to hold big corporations accountable," Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) tweeted.
Warren then capitalized on the issue further, tying it to her plan to "break up" Big Tech.
"Giant corporations like Amazon have too much power—in fact, nearly half of all e-commerce goes through Amazon. My administration will make big, structural changes to the tech sector to promote more competition—including breaking up Amazon, Facebook, and Google," she added.
"I stand in solidarity with the courageous Amazon workers engaging in a work stoppage against unconscionable working conditions in their warehouses. It is not too much to ask that a company owned by the wealthiest person in the world treat its workers with dignity and respect," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) tweeted.
Julián Castro, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development under former President Barack Obama, suggested that Amazon's high market value makes its allegedly low wages for its 647,500 employees unacceptable.
"A company worth $1 trillion can absolutely afford to provide reasonable conditions for its employees. My campaign is proud to stand with Amazon warehouse workers this [Prime Day], and will continue fighting for an economy that works for all Americans," Castro tweeted.
Tom Steyer, a hedge fund billionaire who made his money investing in coal but then turned himself into an environmental activist, also supported the strikers, saying that every person has a "right" to a "living wage."
"I stand with the Amazon workers around the world who are on strike this Prime Day. Every person has the right to a living wage, and Amazon can certainly afford to pay up while keeping its workers safe," Steyer tweeted.
Amazon has responded to the strikers' complaints.
"The fact is Amazon offers already what this outside organization is asking for," the company told Bloomberg. Amazon provides competitive hourly rates ranging from $16.25 to $20.80, with benefits, "and we invite anyone to see for themselves by taking a tour of the facility" in Shakopee, Minn.
These workers decided to work at Amazon, and while Amazon has a great deal of money, it has to keep costs down in order to preserve its profit margins. A raise may be warranted, but the company already has to provide competitive wages to attract employees. The Democrats seem to think there is a pot of money that Amazon can just give to its workers. That's now how businesses work. The company won't be able to provide as much service to its customers if it has to spend all its money on wages for its half a million employees.
Will these Democrats take a trip to Minnesota just like they traveled to the detention centers at the U.S.-Mexico border? When will they start comparing Amazon factories to concentration camps?
Follow Tyler O'Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.