A group of Amazon employees protested outside the home of CEO Jeff Bezos. The protesters met outside the $23 million residence in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday and wrote "Protect Amazon Workers" in huge, multi-colored letters in the middle of a street. They also wrote the hashtag #ForUsNotAmazon, according to The Daily Mail.
The protests are part of a much larger issue between Bezos and numerous Amazon employees over the company's handling of the coronavirus pandemic. This particular incident came just two days before the massive walkout planned between Amazon employees as well as numerous others, including those from Walmart, Instacart and Target. Given lockdowns that were put in place across the country, the massive online retailer has seen a huge surge in profits. The outlet noted its projected profits were roughly $8,000 a second in the first three months of 2020. It's also ending certain employee benefit programs, including unlimited paid time off.
"It's more powerful when we come together," Chris Smalls said, the former Amazon employee who helped organize the workout, which also falls on International Workers Day. "We formed an alliance between a bunch of different companies because we all have one common goal which is to save the lives of workers and communities. Right now isn’t the time to open up the economy. Amazon is a breeding ground [for coronavirus] which is spreading right now through multiple facilities."
Smalls was fired from his job at an Amazon facility in Staten Island after organizing a walkout back in March over the company's lack of preparedness over the ongoing pandemic. A spokesperson for Amazon issued a statement that read the company "respects people's right to express themselves," though objects "to the irresponsible actions of labor groups in spreading misinformation and making false claims about Amazon during this unprecedented health and economic crisis."
Amazon, which saw such a spike in sales they had to temporarily ban all non-essential items from their platform, had its first confirmed case of COVID-19 back in March. By April 15, the company had its first death related to the virus. "We are saddened by the passing of a member of our management team in Hawthorne, California," Amazon spokesperson Kristen Kisha said in a statement. "His family and loved ones are in our thoughts, and we are supporting his fellow colleagues."