It is unethical to buy from Amazon

Amazon has become one of the world’s largest corporations, shipping products of endless varieties to countries across the globe at the click of a button. According to Fortune’s Global 500 for 2021, which ranks the 500 companies with the highest revenues, Amazon placed third, demonstrating its massive success. However, behind this shiny facade, Amazon hides the horrors of its unethical working conditions. This kind of behavior is wrong and should not be supported by the money of so many unsuspecting customers.

A report released in May 2021 by the Strategic Organizing Center or SOC (a coalition of labor unions including the Service Employees International Union), outlined the workplace injuries in Amazon warehouses. The numbers used were in fact reported by Amazon itself to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The data shows that in 2020, for every 100 workers at these warehouses, 5.9 serious injuries occurred, either partially or completely affecting the employees’ ability to do their job. This rate is nearly 80% higher than the rate for non-Amazon employers in the warehouse industry, exposing a serious safety problem within the corporation.

Furthermore, employees have complained about the grueling and fast-paced work they must complete during shifts. A quote in the SOC report from a Fulfillment Center Worker in Kentucky says, “Do not demand so much production, since we are people, not machines.” Workers at the JFK8 warehouse on Staten Island, New York have even delivered a petition to facility managers to voice their opinions. In addition to grievances about the high injury rates, employees are upset by the short duration of their breaks, the lack of reliable public transportation to and from the warehouse, and the likelihood of being fired. Just like that, a simple mistake or having the courage to voice complaints about the working conditions could lead to being out of a job.

With how highly commercialized the world has become, consumers have taken advantage of how easy it is to get their hands on products ranging from clothing, to home goods, to food, and everything in between. For many, all they see are the benefits, especially how quickly they can get these items delivered to their doorstep. This creates a vicious cycle that does nothing to prioritize the health and safety of employees at major corporations like Amazon. When customers keep buying, workers keep working, and in poor conditions.

Collectively, we should all make an effort to minimize how much we buy from Amazon or even stop shopping there altogether. A good alternative to Amazon is supporting local businesses in the Twin Cities like the ones on this list. In doing so, we will stop supporting their unethical working conditions and hopefully create a better experience for their employees.