In October of 2020, Amazon disclosed that nearly 20,000 of their frontline employees (between Amazon and Whole Foods) had contracted COVID-19. Between the fact that there has been no update to this in the past six months and that this disclosure was put forth by Amazon itself, one might assume the actual number is much higher. Between workers suing over warehouse COVID-19 deaths and having been found to be illegally fired and retaliated against for speaking up about unsafe conditions, it's hard to know exactly how many Amazon employees have actually suffered during this. Honestly, we may never know. But what do we know? Amazon's owner, and richest person on Earth, Jeff Bezos, is worth around $200 billion -- his wealth increasing by $75 billion in 2020. Bezos is so rich he could have given each of Amazon's 876,000 employees a $105,000 bonus and still be as wealthy as he was at the onset of the pandemic. But, hey, at least Jeff is "grateful" for the work his employees are doing.
It seems, however, that Amazon workers need much more than Jeff Bezos's gratitude. It looks like they need things like protection, advocacy, and the power to negotiate for better working conditions and other benefits through collective bargaining. In other words: a union. Since 1994, many Amazon employees and many now former Amazon employees (hmm, what could've happened there?) have tried to unionize. However, Amazon has seemingly stepped up their game of proletariat whack-a-mole by allegedly:
– Posting job listings for intelligence analysts to track labor organizing threats
– Seeking out resources to invest in software that analyzes and visualizes data on unions/activism efforts
– Monitoring employee listservs and "closed" Facebook groups deemed potential hotspots for employee activism
-- Tracking Whole Foods employees with a heat map which ranked each store by "greatest risk" of unionizing