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July 29, 2020

Jeff Bezos and Amazon Must Be Held Accountable by Congress for Failure to Disclose COVID-19 Employee Infections and Deaths, Attack on Worker Rights

Ahead of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos Testifying to Congress, America’s Largest Food & Retail Union Calls on Lawmakers to Hold Amazon & Bezos Accountable for Company Failures

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, ahead of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos testifying to Congress, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, America’s largest food and retail union with 1.3 million workers, condemned Amazon for blatant efforts to stop employees from exercising their right to join a union and endangering both workers and consumers by failing to disclose internal numbers on how many Amazon employees have been infected by COVID-19. Additionally, UFCW recently challenged Amazon’s antitrust practices in a new complaint to the Federal Trade Commission.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“The time is long past to hold Jeff Bezos and Amazon accountable for their failures and irresponsibility that has consistently placed Amazon profits ahead of the safety and rights of American workers.

“It is outrageous that in the middle of a pandemic, Amazon refused to tell the American people how many of its workers have been exposed, become sick, or died from COVID-19. Even worse, Amazon has fired and attacked its own workers who bravely spoke out against the company’s unethical and irresponsible behavior. Enough is enough.

“Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos must be forced to answer the tough questions and be held accountable by Congress for the company’s blatant attacks on workers, and their failures to keep workers safe as COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on our country.”

Background:

UFCW has been a leading national voice calling for greater accountability for tech companies for their worker mistreatment, including Amazon and Facebook whose CEOs are testifying to Congress today.

In April 2020, UFCW condemned Amazon for firing the worker who led the recent strike at its Staten Island facility. In December 2018, the retail branch of UFCW launched a campaign to unionize Amazon warehouse workers. UFCW has also called on Amazon for action to protect its Whole Foods workers as more continue to be infected by COVID-19.

In June 2020, UFCW called out Facebook for creating a tool that allows companies to censor communications among their workers about unionizing. On the Facebook Workplace platform, an intranet-style chat and office collaboration product, the initial design would enable employers to blacklist words like unionize in communications on the platform.

In March 2020, UFCW condemned Instacart for failing to immediately provide the COVID-19 hazard pay and personal protective equipment needed to support and keep their workers safe at the beginning of the pandemic. In February 2020, Instacart workers in the Chicago area joined UFCW, making history as the first Instacart workers to join a union.

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The UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org.