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
by K.D. Senior
Justice is an abstract concept implored in the name of fairness, impartiality, and equity. These are often used interchangeably, but maintain subtle distinctions. Fairness can be understood as treatment without favor or discrimination. Impartiality can be understood as neutrality and objectiveness. Equity can be conceptualized as the application of fairness and impartiality.
Continue reading The Rundown After Sundown: With Low Wages and High Pollution for People of Color, Justice in Seattle is Just Talk
by Aaron Burkhalter
See below for a statement Kshama Sawant issued in response to news that many Amazon employees are losing other benefits as their wages are raised.
Amazon Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos announced Oct. 2 that the retail giant would pay all its workers a minimum wage of $15 an hour beginning Nov. 1. Activists working to raise the minimum wages across the United States credited the ongoing movement for forcing Amazon to up compensation to its workers.
Continue reading Q&A: Councilmember Kshama Sawant Celebrates Amazon’s Concession to a $15-an-Hour Minimum Wage while Pushing for Further Action
by Carolyn Bick
Anand Giridharadas is a former New York Times foreign correspondent, but his newest book, Winners Take All, isn’t based on what he witnessed in other countries. It’s based on what he’s seen right here in the United States. The book examines our current understanding of philanthropy, in which the nation’s wealthiest give money to mitigate the problems they help to create.
Continue reading Author Anand Giridharadas Brings His Research on America’s Extreme Wealth and Inequality to Southside Commons
(This article originally appeared on Patch.com and has been republished with permission)
by Neal McNamara
Some of the state’s wealthiest corporations — including Amazon, Starbucks and Fred Meyer — employ thousands of low-wage workers who receive public food assistance. Experts say this is a phenomenon driven by low wages and tenuous employment arrangements, like seasonal or on-demand work.
Continue reading The Wealthiest Companies In Washington Employ Thousands On Food Stamps