Is it right for Amazon workers to protest outside Jeff Bezos’ LA home?


Fact Box

  • Jeff Bezos is an American entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Under his expertise, Amazon became the “largest retailer on the World Wide Web and model for internet sales.” 
  • “Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking.” They offer many products and services including online shopping, music and video streaming, and Kindle books. 
  • In recent months, Amazon “doubled” its yearly net profit to $5.2 billion compared to $2.6 billion in 2019. The company gained in profits after spending over $4 billion on “incremental COVID-19 related costs in the quarter to help keep employees safe and deliver products to customers.”
  • On October 4, demonstrators joined up to march to Bezos’ mansion in Beverly Hills lobbying for “higher wages, free health care, and reform” based on the coronavirus crisis.

Andrew (Yes)

Amazon employees are justified in protesting outside of the home of Jeff Bezos because their grievances are significant and need to be addressed. Amazon has notoriously harsh working conditions for employees in their distribution facilities, and there have been many complaints that the pace of work is nearly impossible to keep up with, often leading to injuries.

During the coronavirus pandemic, Amazon has provided a vital service, delivering goods so people could remain at home. This was great for shoppers, but difficult and often unsafe for employees who were forced to go to work. Bezos personally made 88 billion dollars during the pandemic; his employees deserve more compensation for providing such an essential service, and they should demonstrate when they don't receive it. One protester was quoted as saying, 'Give a good reason why we don't deserve a $30 minimum wage when this man makes $4,000 a second.'

These employees should protest outside the home of Jeff Bezos because he, along with the other Amazon corporate elites, needs to feel their pain. It is too easy for the super-rich to isolate themselves from the people who's labor they earn their money. It's unlikely Bezos would encounter or take a call from a distribution center employee for a frank discussion about working conditions. For these reasons, the employees must take their case directly to him. 

Amazon employees have allowed Jeff Bezos to create enormous personal wealth at the cost of their health. Bezos and Amazon can easily afford to share the spoils with employees, who are right to bring their complaints directly to their boss's house.

Bill (No)

Amazon workers should not be protesting outside Jeff Bezos' LA home. Aside from the fact that protesting in a residential neighborhood causes a public nuisance for neighbors in the area as streets and sidewalks are blocked, additional police are required to be deployed to monitor the protests and ensure public safety. As a result, fewer police are available for other areas of the city requiring police presence.

Rather than disrupting their CEO's neighborhood, Amazon employees should take advantage of the mechanisms available to them to raise concerns, such as their company’s extensive network of employee listservs (internal bulletin boards, which 'distributes messages to subscribers on an electronic mailing list'), as well as company meetings (where they can prepare written documents detailing their complaints to be reviewed and discussed). 

The country is in the midst of economic upheaval, with millions of Americans unemployed due to the COVID pandemic. It's hard to believe the average unemployed worker will be sympathetic towards the Amazon protesters because they are lucky enough to work for one of the world's most successful and admired companies. Amazon was one of the first companies to introduce a $15/hour minimum wage, more than twice the $7.25/hour national minimum.

For its part, Amazon has responded to the protests by claiming it already voluntarily meets the protester's demands for competitive pay, employee safety, healthcare benefits, advancement opportunities, etc. Amazon goes above and beyond for their workers, as the company has rightfully as seen in their efforts during the pandemic to offer 'Thank You' bonuses 'totaling over $500 million for all front-line employees,' as well as 'two weeks paid time off for workers diagnosed with COVID-19.'

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