Sunday, 08 December, 2019

Deals, protests during Amazon Prime Day

Workers and Verdi Union members are seen during strike action at an Amazon logistics centre in Werne Germany Workers and Verdi Union members during strike action at an Amazon logistics centre in Werne in December 2018
Cecil Davis | 17 July, 2019, 14:56

As you're perusing Amazon for Prime Day deals, keep in mind that warehouse workers in Germany and Minnesota are striking today to protest their working conditions.

The sale is winding down after two full days of deals, marking the first 48-hour run in Prime Day's history.

The Seattle-based e-commerce behemoth said it is offering more than a million deals. Amazon's own products, like its Fire tablets and Echo smart speakers, are usually among the strongest sellers. Amazon has been embroiled in a dispute with German trade unions, and the company's workers in Germany have staged frequent strikes and protests in recent years.

US Democratic presidential contenders Kamila Harris and Bernie Sanders were among those who expressed support for the strikers on Twitter.

The protests could have a massive impact on Amazon's sale offers even if the company continues to maintain that it has industry-leading pay scales and strived for the welfare of its employees around the world.

The most-recent protests across the United States and European countries could become a massive headache for Amazon as thousands have begun demanding better pay and working conditions, especially at warehouses which the company calls 'Fulfillment Centers.' BBC reported that numerous protesting workers in a warehouse in Minnesota, for instance, have started highlighting working conditions which are extremely detrimental to their physical and mental well-being.

Shakopee workers are expected to be joined by Amazon workers traveling from the company's headquarters in Seattle.

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In New York, a coalition of labor groups planned to deliver 250,000 petitions to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos' Manhattan home calling on the company to cut business ties with ICE and end abusive working conditions in its warehouses.

Prime Day 2019 started at midnight PT Monday and will continue through Tuesday, but it's only for Amazon Prime subscribers who pay the annual subscription cost: $119 (or $13 per month if you don't want to pay all at once).

San Diego State University Marketing Professor Steven Osinski said the protests were unlikely to have an effect on sales, however.

"While Amazon blows its prices with hefty discounts on Prime Day for bargain hunters, employees are denied a viable living wage", Orhan Akman, Verdi's trading expert, said in a statement. Walmart has a "summer savings event" through Wednesday.

"It's something that shows you the power of Amazon that nearly every other retailer is trying to capitalize on the traffic we're seeing online today with promotions by just about everybody", said Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy.

The events have also helped to encourage shoppers to make back-to-school shopping purchases ahead of that season.