The holiday season true to the dominant paradigm within our global economy where corporate interests and downsizing prevail, relying on cheap labor in order to sustain transnational empires. Labor arrangements of mass production ensuring corporate profit and consumer satisfaction, are navigated upon the bodies of low wage workers. In effect entire systems rely on the creation of over worked, low wage workers. Recent labor abuse and subsequent protests at Amazon Germany capture and illuminate the nature of such egregious transnational markets.
Just days before the Christmas holiday began; Germany’s temporary and migrant workers hired by Amazon were dismissed from their jobs taking with them the false promise of becoming a full-time worker for Amazon in exchange for being underpaid workers subjected to high surveillance, and a business model that leads to high levels of stress, injury and mistreatment
Amazon whose company is popular during the holiday season recently fired 600+ of its temporary workers in Germany just days before Christmas after their harsh labor had already been completed. Read more about that story in this Dutch article. It is not uncommon to read news about temporary workers being fired and going on strike, leaving their jobs as a form of protest for their low paying, underpaid jobs and unfair treatment; However, Amazon has a well documented history of suddenly firing, laying off both permanent and temporary workers, yet the news of this is largely ignored by mainstream media who merely highlights the issue
“As customers we are often unaware of the treatment temporary and migrant workers face while making, packaging and placing online orders. We are a direct link to the growing demand for cheap labor and abusive labor practices worldwide. The products we choose to purchase, on a daily basis directly support the companies who hire and exploit the workers who make the products we order. Every purchase we make is then connected from the consumer, to the company and directly to the temporary workers who make and package the products we order.” -Gia Ibarra | Founder of Music4Freedom
Missy Chiprin Writes: “To be considered is the ease with which a company can devise strategies of production while avoiding scrutiny by the public. Online shopping facilitates such practices as we sit behind our pretty screens, labor made invisible; coupled with the dehumanization of employees, as we are further removed from the very real people who process our online orders within distribution centers, far from our minds eye. We click buttons, “send” to our cart, transaction completed with no human involved, ostensibly all is well. We should not underestimate the effects this all might have on made-to-us-anonymous workers. In contrast with the exploitive labor practices at brick and mortar retail outlets, complete with long lines of customers, employees struggling to meet consumers needs and demands, as they tend to carelessly left merchandise by hurried shoppers such as Wal-Mart are far harder to hide.”
Missy went on to discuss three types of stress, mapped out within Amazon’s business model Raising critical questions which begged to be answered, including as we challenge such business practices, how are we empowering the employees. For we are bearing witness to and committing our support, embodied within an atmosphere which creates an unsafe environment, workers have the answers, and most certainly have a powerful voice
Amazon’s 3 levels of stress business model
1. Physical labor combined with unrealistic and unattainable goals dominate the work environment. Charting this is critical to identifying the dependence on one body’s ability to work under oppressive conditions, placing often life time of stress on one’s physical being
2. Mental stress of Job insecurity becomes evident under the frame work of the cortex, the nexus of exploitive labor practices ensued. Equally threatening, Amazon employees are well aware of the countless temporary workers eagerly ready to replace them if they do not make their goals and/or are fired
3. A disturbing practice of inducing emotional stress. Intentionally, workers are subjected to feeling they are not good enough, so as to cause them to work harder and worse challenging their belief of their own autonomy, by creating dependence out of the false belief, of their own lack. Within the contours of capitalism, historically enacting destructive methods lie such markers we ought to take heed
Missy Chiprin is Producer at The Scholar’s Circle & Music4Freedom Media Director
Music4Freedom: A music organization whose focus is advocating for human rights through its music campaigns has decided to protest Amazon’s unfair treatment of migrant and temporary workers in Germany and worldwide by taking down all of its 2013 music releases which includes the following: music4freedom, artists4freedom & Johnito online music releases:
An EP focusing on peace and protest music “Be Free” -EP- by Artists4Freedom
“United Artists for Change” An anti-Slavery Album by Music4Freedom to benefit the Abolish Slavery Coalition
The recently released single and tribute song to Edward Snowden “Resistance Is Vital” by Johnito, supported by Artists4Freedom
Music4Freedom’s music releases are in process of being taken down from Amazon’s MP3 music stores worldwide with no notice of being resubmitted in the future to Amazon MP3 music stores until Amazon stops it’s abuse of temporary and migrant workers worldwide including changing their policy for keeping and maintaining temporary workers within their company without the possibility of becoming full time equally paid workers
“Workers everywhere around the world are facing, more or less, the same struggle as the ‘financial crisis’ is continuing.” -Johnito
Johnito who is a part of Artists4Freedom an Independent Artists group that advocates for human rights through their music has also asked his fans to continue the support of his music through other music stores excluding Amazon’s MP3 Music Store
Johnito and Music4Freedom stands in solidarity with the 600+ German temporary workers, who were used, mistreated and fired days before Christmas by Amazon and its third party hiring staff in order to get their holiday season orders shipped to customers. We believe in the fair treatment of all workers and expect to see Amazon make the necessary changes needed to their highly demanding workers system that abuses and damages the physical, mental and emotional health of its workers. We hope this message reaches all corporations who take advantage of migrant workers vulnerabilities and those who deny temporary workers their rights to fair treatment and equal pay. –End-
Music4Freedom encourages listeners to continue to support our work and music by not purchasing our music through Amazon MP3 while it is in the process of being taken down and instead stream, preview and purchase our music through the following music stores:
Spotify, iTunes, Google Play, emusic, Music Unlimited, Xbox Music, MOG, 7Digital, rdio, Deezer, Rhapsody, MySpace music, last.fm, simfy, muvemusic,
Continued: nokia, medianet, iHeartRadio, wimp, shazam, gracenote, Jukemymusic, slacker, JB HI-FI Now Music, MediaNet, TradeBit, GreatIndieMusic, Myxer, 24-7, Omnifone, Bloom.fm, Boinc, Samsung music hub
Artists4Freedom Singles: Artists4Freedom – Be Free
Music4Freedom Album: Various Artists – United Artists for Change
4Snowden Campaign: Resistance Is Vital by Johnito on Spotify – A tribute to Edward Snowden & All whistleblowers, freedom activists worldwide.
ITUNES: iTunes Various Artists – United Artists for Change – https://itun.es/i6F53RF
Artists4Freedom – Be Free – EP – https://itun.es/i6Fz4f6
Johnito – Resistance Is Vital – Single – https://itun.es/i6Fz4fg
In solidarity with temporary workers in Germany affected by Amazon we ask for your support in signing the following petition letter to Amazon. We ask for contract workers and temporary workers who work for the world’s biggest online retailer Amazon to get more rights and better working conditions.
Let us create 50,000 signatures in support of workers’ rights
Please join in global support for Germany temporary workers to improve their working conditions as Amazon contract workers
Petition link: https://www.change.org/de/Petitionen/amazon-deutschland-verbessern-sie-die-arbeitsbedingungen-ihrer-leiharbeiter
Missy Chiprin, Johnito & Gia Ibarra contributed to the writing of this post.