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A fired Amazon employee led a protest in front of Jeff Bezos' $165 million Beverly Hills mansion over workers' wages and job protections

October 5, 2020
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<img class="caas-img has-preview" alt="Former Amazon employee, Christian Smalls, stands with fellow demonstrators during a protest outside of an Amazon warehouses in the Staten Island borough of New York on May 1, 2020.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

” src=”https://newsgrio.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/a-fired-amazon-employee-led-a-protest-in-front-of-jeff-bezos-165-million-beverly-hills-mansion-over-workers-wages-and-job-protections.jpg” data-src=”https://newsgrio.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/a-fired-amazon-employee-led-a-protest-in-front-of-jeff-bezos-165-million-beverly-hills-mansion-over-workers-wages-and-job-protections.jpg”>

Former Amazon employee, Christian Smalls, stands with fellow demonstrators during a protest outside of an Amazon warehouses in the Staten Island borough of New York on May 1, 2020.

  • Former Amazon employees alongside other organizers protested in front of Jeff Bezos’ Beverly Hills home on Sunday.

  • Demonstrators had a list of demands, including “adequate protective equipment and cleaning supplies, as well as an increase of $2 per hour for hazard pay,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

  • While workers have been protesting for months and some have even sued, Amazon has maintained that it’s been taking good care of its employees. 

  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Related: How Amazon gets you to spend more money

Protesters led by a former assistant manager at Amazon took their frustrations to the gates of Jeff Bezos’ home in Beverly Hills, California over the weekend.

The group got together on Sunday at Will Rogers Memorial Park before proceeding to Bezos’ mansion and protesting work conditions, calling for free healthcare and an increase in hourly wages, the Los Angeles Times reported. Bezos paid a record-breaking $165 million for the Warner Estate in California, and has since reportedly paid another $10 million for the house directly next door.

The demonstrators demanded “adequate protective equipment and cleaning supplies, as well as an increase of $2 per hour for hazard pay,” according to the LA Times. Furthermore, attendees reportedly carried signs that read “Tax Bezos” while chanting the words too.

Amazon faces multiple lawsuits from employees over its working conditions during the pandemic.

Sunday’s protest was led by former Amazon employee Christian Smalls, who used to be an assistant manager at one of Amazon’s fulfillment centers in Staten Island, New York, the LA Times reported. The march was also sponsored by a group he founded called Congress Of Essential Workers, according to the report.

<img class="caas-img caas-lazy has-preview" alt="The view of the front gate of the Jeff Bezos-owned Warner Estate.

RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

” src=”https://news.yahoo.com/fired-amazon-employee-led-protest-214434549.html” data-src=”https://newsgrio.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/a-fired-amazon-employee-led-a-protest-in-front-of-jeff-bezos-165-million-beverly-hills-mansion-over-workers-wages-and-job-protections-1.jpg”><img alt="The view of the front gate of the Jeff Bezos-owned Warner Estate.

RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

” src=”https://newsgrio.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/a-fired-amazon-employee-led-a-protest-in-front-of-jeff-bezos-165-million-beverly-hills-mansion-over-workers-wages-and-job-protections-1.jpg” class=”caas-img”>

The view of the front gate of the Jeff Bezos-owned Warner Estate.

Amazon fired Smalls after he assisted in organizing a previous walkout protest in March over the company’s health and safety policies at its fulfilment centers after a coworker tested positive for the coronavirus. Smalls has claimed Amazon’s firing constituted retaliation, which Amazon has continually denied.

“When a multibillion-dollar company is subjecting its employees to substandard working and safety conditions during a global pandemic and, as a result, transmitting COVID-19 to 20,000 employees — it goes beyond negligence,” Andrew Lewis, who protested on Sunday and is also on the North Westwood Neighborhood Council, told the LA Times. “Amazon is far and beyond the wealthiest corporation on the planet. They have the resources to keep their employees safe and healthy, and actively choose not to.”

“Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our employees, and we are doing everything we can to keep them as safe as possible,” Amazon spokesperson Maria Boschetti told Business Insider in a statement. “The fact is that Amazon already offers what unions are requesting for employees: industry-leading pay, a variety of benefits  packages, and opportunities for career growth, all while working in a safe, modern work environment. At Amazon, these benefits and opportunities come with the job, as does the ability to communicate directly with the leadership of the company.”

This weekend’s march wasn’t the first time in which Amazon employees organized in an effort to take a protest to Bezos’ door. In August, a group of protesters, also organized by the Congress Of Essential Workers and led by Smalls, demonstrated in front of Bezos’ apartment in Manhattan.

Protesters at the August gathering called for “better safety and fair pay for Amazon warehouse workers,” while also issuing a list of demands that included an increase in wages, sick pay, hazard pay, and healthcare for its full-time employees. Additionally, those in attendance demanded that legislators impose a wealth tax on the richest Americans. 

Bezos has seen his fortune increase dramatically during the pandemic, adding $13 billion to his net worth in just one day in July while Amazon reported a record $88.9 billion in second-quarter sales, good for a 40% increase from last year’s numbers. 

Amid the protests and criticism leveled at Amazon in the last year, the retail giant has maintained that it’s increased its minimum wage, introduced new policies and benefits programs, and has been taking good care of its employees. But for months the company did not disclose the total number of COVID-19 cases among its employees.

Amazon executive Dave Clark previously said in a May interview that the “total number of cases isn’t particularly useful because it’s relative to the size of the building and then the overall community infection rate.”

While Amazon initially pushed back on calls from workers to release detailed numbers about the total number of cases, that recently changed.

On Thursday, October 1, the company said in a blog post that a total of 19,816 frontline workers at Amazon and Whole Foods tested positive for COVID-19 spanning from March 1 to September 19 this year. Amazon noted that the number of employees who tested positive was “42% lower than the expected number” after it conducted “a thorough analysis of data” on all of its 1,372,000 front-line workers during that time period.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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