by Guy Oron
Over 150 people gathered this Saturday, Feb. 20, to protest in solidarity with Amazon warehouse workers and against the crisis of housing affordability in King County. The protestors gathered outside the Renton offices of the Washington Multi-Family Housing Association (WMFHA), a landlord lobby group, before marching to the Amazon Flex warehouse, also known as DSE5.
The demonstration was organized by a coalition of local activist and labor groups, including the Seattle Democratic Socialists of America (SDSA) and MLK Labor (also known as the King County Labor Council). Organizers coordinated the action in coordination with a national day of solidarity in support of workers at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, who are trying to unionize. Workers at the Bessemer warehouse are currently voting on whether to form a union, and if they prove successful, the facility would become the first unionized Amazon warehouse in the United States.
Continue reading Protestors Rally in Renton in Support of Alabama Amazon Workers
by Nathan Chau
Growing up, I was very involved with the people and happenings around me. I was always aware of my surroundings; coming home from Head Start at Dunlap Elementary School right off Cloverdale and Henderson, I paid close attention to the street signs, the houses, and all of my classmates on the bus. But the South End of Seattle hasn’t been looking the same as it did 10 years ago. More and more of the small businesses I grew up around — like Hong Kong Seafood, Pho Bo, and Randy’s Restaurant off of East Marginal Way — are starting to disappear. And I’ve also started to notice more and more blueprints being posted saying “New Modern 2-story Townhomes” and images of new condos and apartments being built.
Why, you may ask? Gentrification.
Continue reading OPINION: A Youth’s Perspective On Gentrification
by Lola E. Peters
Microsoft and Amazon have one thing in common: They once had their own idea. Ever since, they’ve profited only by taking other people’s technology and ideas, either by gobbling up or undercutting their competition.
Tuesday, Feb. 2, Jeff Bezos announced his departure from the company he founded. A company that revolutionized retail so much it just delivered the new computer mouse I ordered this morning. Unthinkable 15 years ago. There will be much said and written about his resignation as CEO of Amazon. Can the company survive without him (Answer: Of course it can.)? What will change with his departure (Answer: Amazon will no longer be seen as the behemoth run by a behemoth.)? I’ll leave those prognostications to others. My interest is more focused on the impact Bezos’ philosophy has had on our region.
Continue reading OPINION: Does Amazon Minus Bezos Equal Greater Civic Engagement?
by Carolyn Bick
Virginia Mason has partnered with Amazon to offer COVID-19 vaccinations for eligible individuals at Amazon’s South Lake Union campus in a pop-up clinic this Sunday, Jan. 24. The welcome news comes against sobering figures from the Department of Health, which show a sharp increase in cases statewide.
Gov. Jay Inslee announced in a press conference on Jan. 21 that the pop-up clinic will be offering 2,000 vaccines. The clinic will be open from 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m., and while it is open to anyone deemed eligible under Phases 1A and 1B – Tier 1, signup for vaccination is required. People may determine whether they are eligible using the WA Phase Finder. All vaccines will be free, regardless of whether a person has insurance.
Continue reading As Cases Rise Sharply Statewide, Virginia Mason, Amazon to Offer Pop-Up Vaccine Clinic This Sunday
by Ronnie Estoque
“If we don’t get it, shut it down!” was among the shouts that rang through the streets of downtown Seattle yesterday as Christian Smalls led a Black Friday protest against Amazon. Smalls, a five-year employee of the Seattle-based online retail giant, was fired in March of this year for speaking out about workers contracting COVID-19 at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, New York.
Smalls, who since has become an outspoken critic of Amazon’s labor practices, formed his own organization called The Congress of Essential Workers (T.C.O.E.W.) to raise awareness about Amazon’s widely reported labor practices. During the pandemic he led a protest of about 50 Amazon workers to urge the company to close down the Staten Island facility after positive cases of COVID-19 were made public. He was then fired by Amazon following the protest, and on November 12, decided to file a class action lawsuit against the company for a termination he views as unjustified.
“They [Amazon] took away the hazard pay back in June; they took away the unlimited paid time off, and people are still contracting this virus,” Smalls said. “They [Amazon workers] deserve a pay increase; essential workers should be paid as a necessity.”
Continue reading Fired NY Amazon Employee Leads Black Friday Protests at Seattle Amazon HQ
by Kshama Sawant
“It should surprise no one that the Mayor who has overseen police indiscriminately tear gas protest movements is now trying to gaslight an entire city into thinking she believes that Black Lives Matter.”
Democratic Mayor Jenny Durkan, who has given us torrents of tear gas, blast balls, and pepper spray, who has staunchly defended Amazon and billionaires from even minimal taxation, and who has presided over brutal austerity budgets, is now offering a 2021 budget that will only double down on hard times for Seattle’s working people and marginalized communities.
Behind her gauzy rhetoric about “reimagining policing” and the “largest-ever investment in racial equity and justice,” Mayor Durkan is proposing a business-as-usual budget that fundamentally fails working people, especially in Black and Brown communities.
Continue reading OPINION: Mayor Durkan’s Austerity Budget Fails Working People and Black and Brown Communities, Fails to Defund Police
by Elizabeth Turnbull
After leading hundreds of protesters inside Seattle City Hall last night, Councilmember Kshama Sawant held an open mic where she emphasized the need to tax Amazon and defund the police, an agenda that some Black protesters felt co-opted the Black Lives Matter mission. Continue reading Sawant and Protesters Take Over City Hall Tuesday Night, Demand Amazon Tax
Amazon’s culture of silencing workers has recently been making noise.
by Andrew Engelson and Ari Robin McKenna
At least five workers at an Amazon distribution warehouse known as BFI4 in Kent, Washington have likely been infected with the novel coronavirus, and warehouse employees live in fear of firings if they speak out, current and former employees told the Emerald in a series of interviews.
Continue reading Five Workers at Amazon Warehouse in Kent Likely Infected with Coronavirus
This article originally appeared on the South Seattle Emerald April of 2018.
by Jonathan Rosenblum
Rubi moved to Seattle last year, arriving after a long road journey from southern California. She immediately found secure housing that met all of her needs.
Rubi had it easier than the 1,000 people who move to our city every week and are blown away by skyrocketing rents. She didn’t have to worry about finding a safe place nightly, like the 8,500 people who are living on the streets, under bridges, in abandoned buildings, in RVs, and in shelters. And she didn’t share the anxiety of the 100,000 Seattleites whose crushing rents are forcing them to forgo basic necessities of life. Continue reading From the Archives: Seattle’s Gilded Age — Housing for Trees, but not for People
by the Seattle Peoples Party
This past year has been a very difficult one. With global fascism on the rise, the war has continued to escalate against people of color, women, trans and gender non-conforming folks, disabled people, and anyone who is economically disadvantaged. Here in Seattle, the housing catastrophe has intensified, with over 12,000 people living houseless at any given time.
Continue reading OPINION: We Need Better Options