Working through the Crisis: A New Townhall Series
Working through the Crisis is a series of public discussions hosted by the Media, Inequality & Change Center examining how the COVID-19 Pandemic has amplified and intensified both problems and resistance at the intersection of labor, digital platforms, exploitation and social control, and public health. The series is designed to be worker-centered, allowing workers to build connections and share insights and experiences with each other, advocates, scholars and the broader public.
APRIL 22: Our Lives Before Your Profits: Amazon Workers Organizing on the Front Lines
6:30 EST/5:30 CST
Hosts: Chenjerai Kumanyika and Todd Wolfson
Since the beginning of the COVID Pandemic Amazon has added $24 billion dollars to its already enormous profits. Despite CDC recommendations recommending shut downs, demands from its workers, and record profits, the company has refused to take comprehensive health and safety protection to its workers. COVID-19 cases are mushrooming rapidly at Amazon warehouses. On March 31st, the Company was forced to acknowledge that an operations manager in California had died of the virus. In response, Amazon workers have organized protests, walkouts, and media campaigns on an unprecedented scale, even in the face of firings at offices and warehouses across the country.
This event will feature Amazon employees involved in organizing before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Through sharing stories of their working conditions, organizing efforts, and protests, Amazon workers will empower each other and educate the public on the urgent developments.
- Nimo Omar (Minneapolis) – She is the co-founder of the Awood Center Minneapolis. The Center was founded to empower East African workers in Minnesota and has been supporting workers at Amazon’s Shakopee Plant that led the first major walkout of Amazon workers in the United States
- Jordan Flowers (Staten, Island NY) – Worker/Organizer Amazon’s JFK8 Fulfillment center. Flowers worked closely with Chris Smalls who was subsequently fired by Amazon.
- Ruby Quintanilla (Chicago) – A member of Amazonians United DCH1 (Chicago). DCH1 Workers have led several successful campaigns demanding accountability from Amazon and led several large and successful walkouts in recent weeks.
- Matt Smith (Seattle) – An Amazon cargo driver that has participated in efforts demanding works with a fulfillment center in Seattle
Workers will address questions including:
1. What are the conditions at their respective centers? 2. How did they organize in response? 3. How can workers who currently scared respond to the situation 4. What can the larger public do to support?