Peaceful persistent pressure from the 99% gets results
On a cold and drizzly morning, hundreds of people gathered outside — and inside — Amazon's shareholder meeting today for a fair share protest calling on the giant retailer to stop dodging taxes, to treat all workers with respect, and to cut ties to the shadowy and extreme right-wing organization known as ALEC. In addition to the hundreds outside, the shareholder meeting itself drew 200 people today, more than twice as many people as have attended in past years.
As a thought bubble floated above the iconic Hammering Man saying "I wish Amazon paid its fair share", supporters of Working Washington, Washington CAN, Other 98, and Fuse Washington joined with hundreds of other concerned community members to seize the opportunity provided by the shareholder meeting to make sure that top executives from the giant retailer heard what the 99% had to say.
Showing once more the power of persistent, peaceful protest, Amazon's corporate leaders made substantial concessions at the shareholder meeting today: in response to repeated questions about Amazon's support of ALEC, corporate leaders announced they are not renewing their membership in ALEC. After months of pressure about working conditions — including an event that brought 2 workers from Amazon's Pennsylvania warehouse to speak out at their South Lake Union headquarters earlier this month — the company also announced they will invest $52 million to improve warehouse working conditions. We applaud these substantial moves towards social responsibility, and hope to see a similar change in their perspective on corporate tax loopholes in the months ahead.
"It was amazing to be there to hear these corporate executives respond to popular pressure by cutting ties to ALEC and investing in better conditions for warehouse workers. This really shows how public protest can take something they say is impossible and make it happen," said Rev. Angela Ying, a shareholder who attended the meeting and witnessed Amazon's concessions. Echoing the Hammering Man's thought bubble, Rev. Ying added: "But I still wish Amazon paid its fair share of taxes."
Amazon's major announcements come after months of growing public pressure over the giant retailer's record on workers and taxes, and their support of ALEC.
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