Get ready to shake things up at Amazon’s annual shareholders meeting! Join the Transit Riders Union and allies from SEIU Local 6, Working Washington, Puget Sound Sage, Tenants Union of Washington State, and Teamsters 117 on Wednesday, June 10, from 8:00 to 10:00 AM outside the Seattle Repertory Theater, 2nd Ave N & Mercer, to tell Amazon it’s time they take their responsibilities to the community seriously. Please join us & also help spread the word through social media.
Amazon’s growth is profoundly altering our city, contributing to rising rents and cost of living while straining our roads and public transit system. Amazon plans to build two new office buildings in Denny Triangle, including a 24-story skyscraper. The development is expected to bring thousands of new workers to the area. Will these new jobs benefit Seattle?
Here’s what Amazon can do to demonstrate their commitment to our community:
Good Jobs: Every worker who contributes to Amazon’s success deserves a good, stable job that allows them to support their family. We call upon Amazon to drop their contract with Security Industry Specialists (SIS), a subcontractor that has recently settled charges with the City of Seattle brought forward by officers who alleged that their rights under the Paid Sick and Safe Time were violated. SIS also recently settled federal charges that they violated Seattle officers’ rights to stand together to improve their jobs and form a union. The Seattle Human Rights Commission and all nine members of City Council have asked Amazon to look into these issues. Amazon, however, has said it is not responsible for how its subcontracted service workers are treated, despite the contractor’s failure to meet the standards Amazon espouses in its own Supplier Code of Standards and Responsibilities.
Public Transit: Thousands of new commuters increase traffic and congestion, which affects air quality and the environment. Amazon’s success depends on our taxpayer-subsidized public transit system, and Amazon’s rapid growth is placing new demands on this system that require significant public investment and expenditure of public resources. As rents continue to rise, low- and moderate-income households have less money left over for transportation expenses like bus fare. Amazon’s responsibility to contribute to our transit system extends further than building hyperlocal amenities serving their corporate campus. In San Franscisco, Google has recognized their responsibility to the wider community by sponsoring free transit pass programs for low and moderate-income youth, seniors and people with disabilities. We call upon Amazon to step up and sponsor the new ORCA Lift low-income fare program, freeing up money in Metro’s budget to expand service and lower fares for all riders.
Affordable Housing: Amazon’s new development will bring thousands of new renters. Every day people are already being priced out of our neighborhoods and out of the city. And yet, Amazon relies on low-wage workers such as janitors, security guards, retail clerks and service workers. We call upon Amazon to work with the city to develop affordable housing close to transit so that lower-income Amazon workers and workers in the small-business economy that caters to Amazon’s needs can afford to live in our city and can get to work.
Diverse Workforce: Rainbow PUSH has called on Amazon to set goals, targets and timetables to expand the participation of people of color – and women – in the tech industry. A letter delivered to Jeff Bezos by Rev. Jesse Jackson, SIS officers, and union members requested a meeting to discuss changing the face of the tech industry. The first step will be ensuring that the people of color who work at Amazon, primarily in service positions, have the benefits of job security, fairness, and respect on the job.
The fact is, Amazon yet to demonstrate that they are even trying to be a good neighbor. It’s time for Amazon to take responsibility for the women and men who protect its campus, whether in existing buildings or in new developments, and to be a responsible actor in our community as a whole. Come to the Amazon Shareholders Meeting to help us send this message, loud and clear!