Many of Amazon’s workers are using Prime Day as a chance to push for higher wages.
Today is “Prime Day,” the day Amazon made up to get people to purchase their products over the summer months. It’s one of, if not the most busy days at Shakopee’s Amazon Distribution Center. Today, roughly 100 of its workers plan to walk out and protest with the hopes of proving a point.
Working conditions have long been a conversation among Amazon corporate and its warehouse employees. Today, they’re disputing pay, physically demanding working conditions, and a quota that supposedly requires them to handle 600 orders per hour.
Amazon responded by saying it’s always looking to improve, but challenged anyone to compare its pay, benefits and working environments to other retailers in and out of Shakopee.
This back-and-forth according to business expert and University of Minnesota professor George John looks like it will be unionized. However, he doesn’t see it getting very far unless it picks up traction beyond Shakopee. He says this is because 100 workers protesting won’t have a very big impact on the customer – at least not yet.
“They’ll fulfill it through some other warehouse. They’ve got an incredibly sophisticated system,” said John. “So when you put in an order, they will try to figure out, ‘where’s that product available and what’s the cheapest way of getting it to you on time?’, so if the Shakopee warehouse is not functioning, they’ll ship it out of a New Jersey warehouse or something else.”
A small group of tech employees from Seattle are expected to join the protest and stand in solidarity with the Shakopee warehouse. Many people are anxious to see if this wave will trickle down to the customer.
Target is another company that has been watching this unfold. Target Deal Days for today and tomorrow are the sales day the company has come up with to compete with Amazon’s Prime Day.