More than 500 to attend “Fair share” rally Thursday at Amazon shareholder meeting in downtown Seattle

The 99% will call on giant retailer to pay their taxes, treat workers with respect, and dump ALEC

More than 500 people will converge at the Seattle Art Museum’s Hammering Man this morning for a major “fair share” protest outside Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting.

While Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and other corporate executives plan to use the shareholder meeting to celebrate their financial success, the 99% have something different planned. More than five hundred of us will rally under the Hammering Man — right outside the room where the meeting is taking place — to send a loud and clear fair share message: it’s time for the giant retailer to share their success with the 99% by paying their fair share of taxes, treating workers with respect, and ending support for the extreme right-wing organization known as ALEC.
When: Thursday, May 24th, 8:30 am.

Where: Amazon shareholder meeting at Seattle Art Museum, 1st & University in downtown Seattle.

What/visuals: Hundreds of workers, students, civil right activists, owners of community businesses, people affected by budget cuts, and others will hold a fair share rally at Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting. Together, we’ll hold a “people’s shareholder meeting” and call on Amazon’s corporate leaders to pay their share of taxes, treat all workers with respect, and drop support for ALEC and similar groups.

 

As hundreds rally outside the shareholder meeting, the voices of the 99% will be raised inside the shareholder meeting as well. Several shareholders will be there at the meeting to bring our fair share issues directly before the executives and decision-makers who have chosen to take Amazon down a path of tax-dodging, worker mistreatment, and support for the infamous and extreme right-wing policy group known as ALEC. Interviews with shareholders can be arranged.

This fair share protest of Amazon’s business practices comes at the end of a “shareholder spring” that has seen major protests over tax dodging and other issues at Wells Fargo Bank, General Electric, Verizon, and other shareholder meetings.

More information on Amazon fair share issues:

  • Tax dodging: Recent figures from the tax policy research group Citizens for Tax Justice reveal that Amazon paid an effective Federal income tax rate last year of only 2.6%. They drove their rate so low primarily by taking advantage of a loophole that gives them a $1 tax deduction for every $1 in stock options they give to executives. This continues a downward trend where their tax rate falls every year — from an 11.5% rate in 2008 to a 9.1% rate in 2009 and a 5.5% rate in 2010, despite solid profits. The corporate tax rate set in law is 35%. Corporate tax dodgers report from Citizens for Tax Justice is available online: http://ctj.org/ctjreports/2011/11/corporate_taxpayers_corporate_tax_dodgers_2008-2010.php
  • Worker mistreatment: Two former workers recently spoke out at the company’s headquarters about harsh conditions in Amazon’s warehouses, including indoor temperatures that rose above 100 degrees. When workers collapsed from exhaustion, the company’s initial response was not to improve ventilation or install air conditioning, but simply to station paramedics outside.
  • Support for ALEC: Amazon is known to have been a “Director Level” sponsor of ALEC, the shadowy and extreme right-wing organization. In the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting, ALEC has become notorious for its role in passing “Stand your ground” laws, as well as efforts to create tax loopholes, undermine workers rights, and make it harder for young people & people of color to vote. Now that the group has come under increased scrutiny, many large corporations — including McDonald’s, Kraft, and others — have publicly dropped support for ALEC. However, Amazon has so far refused to do the same.

Working Washington is bringing people together to fight for a fair economy — and that means holding corporations like Amazon accountable to pay their fair share and make sure all the jobs they create are good jobs. We’re taking creative, direct action to call on elected officials, big corporations, and the top 1% to do what it takes to stop the cuts to education, health care, and other services. It’s time to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the top 1%. For more information, visit WorkingWa.org

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Contact: Sage Wilson, sage@workingwa.org

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