1. Jeff Bezos is obscenely rich. His personal fortune is larger than the GDP of a small country.
Jeff Bezos’ personal wealth is currently worth more than $200 billion. To illustrate just how obscenely rich he is, the GDP of Bulgaria was around $171 billion in 2019 by comparison.
When you read news articles praising Bezos’ charitable donations, like the $100 million donation to Feeding America in April 2020, try putting that number into perspective. $100 million is 0.05% of Bezos’ net worth of over $200 billion. The median net worth of an American family is $121,700; so Bezos’ donation is the equivalent of an average American family donating $60.85.
2. Bezos acknowledges the problem of workplace injuries but still has Amazon employees work the “megacycle.”
Jeff Bezos paid lip service to solving the problem of musculoskeletal disorders linked to repetitive robot-like motions made by warehouse workers. At the same time, Amazon has introduced the “megacycle”—a grueling ten-hour graveyard shift from 1:20 AM to 11:50 AM.
3. Amazon made more profit during the pandemic than in the past three years.
While workers grappled with the pandemic on top of already abhorrent work conditions, Amazon made money hand over fist. In the first quarter of 2021, the company posted a profit of $8.11 billion—three times what they made before the pandemic.
Despite making record breaking profits during the pandemic, Amazon used tax-loopholes to avoid paying its fair share of taxes. In fact, over the past three years, Amazon paid an effective federal income tax rate of just 4.3 percent on U.S. income.
4. Amazon provides surveillance tools to law enforcement while claiming to support police reform.
In the wake of George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Derek Chauvin last year, Amazon was one of many big corporations to cry crocodile tears over him. They made public statements against police violence and called for the support of #Black Lives Matter, despite keeping contracts with law enforcement to provide them with technology to trample on the rights of black and brown communities.
5. Amazon employees were forced back to work after their coworker died on shift.
In October of 2019, Amazon employees were sent back to work after watching their coworker die on the floor. After a heart attack, Bill Foister laid on the ground for twenty minutes before receiving any assistance.
6. Under Jeff Bezos’ leadership, Amazon fired a worker leader for helping coworkers fight for better protection from COVID-19.
During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chris Smalls helped organize a walkout at a Staten Island Amazon warehouse. For leading the workers’ struggle for safety and sick leave, Smalls was fired in retaliation. Smalls was by no means the only one, other workers have since been fired for calling attention to Amazon’s failure to take the safety of its workers seriously.
7. Amazon workers attempting to unionize were subjected to a 24/7 anti-union propaganda campaign at work and off the clock.
The union campaign in Bessemer, AL was by no means perfect, but it is hard to overstate the way in which Amazon waged an all-out war against workers. Workers were subjected to anti-union propaganda at work including during their bathroom breaks while the company ran constant ads showing smiling employees. Amazon went as far as to change the times of local traffic lights to keep workers from lingering onsite after their shifts.
8. Jeff Bezos wants to make space into a playground for plutocrats.
Billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk are working to make space capital’s final frontier. Privatizing space travel by leveraging public infrastructure and funding, the rich want to escape the ecological collapse they helped create through their interstellar exploration.
9. Amazon doesn’t just have a monopoly on shipping stuff across the globe, they own the means of communication too.
Amazon doesn’t just ship stuff all over the world, they have a sizable hold over how the internet operates via Amazon Web Services (AWS)—a division of Amazon that provides third-parties access to their cloud for a price. AWS is leveraged by developers far and wide, meaning the tools by which we all rely on every day are subject to the whims of Amazon.
10. Jeff Bezos now also owns Whole Foods. Whole Foods cut employee benefits just before the pandemic hit, leaving part-time employees without healthcare.
In 2017, Amazon acquired Whole Foods. Starting in 2020, part-time Whole Foods employees lost their health insurance in a cost-cutting measure. Employees were left without coverage when they needed it most during the pandemic. Whole Foods even increased the number of part-time employees to meet the pandemic demand.
Cover Image Source: DonkeyHotey; licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.