WWJ and Allies Demand Accountability From Amazon and Shareholders at #EyesOnAmazon Shareholder Day of Action
On Tuesday, May 25, Warehouse Workers for Justice and our allies rallied in front of BlackRock’s corporate headquarters in downtown Chicago to demand accountability from Amazon and its shareholders for #EyesOnAmazon Shareholder Day of Action. Watch the video of the action on our Facebook page here.
Warehouse Workers for Justice and communities and organizations across the nation took to the offices of Amazon’s shareholders just days before the annual general meeting to push these large investors to vote with communities and not continue to enable the bad behavior of Amazon management.
The Chicago event started with an introduction and rallying chants led by WWJ Executive Director Roberto Clack. Jason Perez (Action Center on Race and the Economy) then spoke on how Amazon has created issues in our communities.
“Amazon and BlackRock are the folks who stand in the way of defunding police and funding our communities,” Perez said. Then, he elaborated on how Amazon has negatively impacted the health of communities.
“Amazon literally pays police departments to put Ring security into people’s homes,” explained Perez. “It teaches communities that the best way to be safe is to surveil your own neighbors, call the police on your own neighbors—it gets away from real solutions from violence.”
After, Clack led the crowd in observing a moment of silence to commemorate the loss of George Floyd due to police violence, exactly one year before.
Brighton Park Neighborhood Council Speaker Andrea Ortiz followed with a demand for accountability for Amazon invading the southwest side of Chicago, without any consideration for the needs of the community. In between, Clack continued to lead rallying chants to charge the crowd.
Rayshonda Brown, a former Amazon worker and current WWJ member, shared their testimony. Brown is a mother to multiple children and also recently had a baby last November. She worked during the busy Christmas season to make sure she could buy presents for her children.
“At Amazon, they treat you as slaves,” Brown said. “If you say you can’t lift the box, Amazon will say: you gotta do it; this is what you are getting paid for.” Brown continued to speak on the bleak working conditions, including how Amazon tried to hide how many workers got sick and how workers lost jobs, benefits, and housing as a result.
“It’s time for Amazon to step up and do better,” Brown said in her final remarks. “It’s also time for Amazon workers to speak up and let the investors know that y’all invested in them and y’all are making profit and it’s like we’re still working for nothing—it’s not right.”
Eli Newell, an organizer with the Sunrise Movement, addressed the distinct connection between environmental issues and labor issues. “Climate justice is worker justice," Newell explained.
The rally concluded with Clack outlining the people’s demands to Amazon and its investors. The people demanded that investors should stand with communities and not Amazon management by voting: