In this file:
· Amazon Workers Plan Prime Day Strike at Minnesota Warehouse
· Grocery brands to cover losses on Amazon Prime Day
Amazon Workers Plan Prime Day Strike at Minnesota Warehouse
Josh Eidelson and Spencer Soper, Bloomberg
via Yahoo Finance - July 8, 2019
(Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. warehouse workers in Minnesota plan to strike during the online retailer’s summer sales extravaganza, a sign that labor unrest persists even after the company committed to paying all employees at least $15 an hour last year.
Workers at a Shakopee, Minnesota, fulfillment center plan a six-hour work stoppage July 15, the first day of Prime Day. Amazon started the event five years ago, using deep discounts on televisions, toys and clothes to attract and retain Prime members, who pay subscription fees in exchange for free shipping and other perks.
“Amazon is going to be telling one story about itself, which is they can ship a Kindle to your house in one day, isn’t that wonderful,” said William Stolz, one of the Shakopee employees organizing the strike. “We want to take the opportunity to talk about what it takes to make that work happen and put pressure on Amazon to protect us and provide safe, reliable jobs.”
Amazon, through a spokeswoman, declined to comment on the planned strike.
In Europe, where unions are stronger, Amazon workers routinely strike during big shopping events like Prime Day and Black Friday. Until now, Amazon’s U.S. workers haven’t walked off the job during key sales days. About 250 union pilots who haul packages for Amazon and DHL Worldwide Express staged a brief strike in the leadup to Thanksgiving in 2016 before a federal judge ordered them back to work, eliminating any disruptions during the peak holiday shopping season.
While the planned strike will affect just one of Amazon’s more than 100 U.S. warehouses, which typically employ a couple of thousand people, the unrest coincides with increasing political pressure on the company and could embolden workers elsewhere.
As one of the world’s most valuable companies -- led by Jeff Bezos, the world’s wealthiest person -- Amazon has become a symbol of income inequality. Critics say it benefits from tax breaks to build warehouses but pays workers so little that some are forced to seek government assistance for basic needs like food and health care. The pledge to pay $15 an hour didn’t happen until the company had weathered attacks from politicians such as presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who proposed a “Stop BEZOS” act that would have imposed a tax on companies like Amazon to make up for the cost of government benefits like Medicaid for their employees.
Of late, warehouses in Minnesota’s Twin Cities region have become an epicenter of worker activism, led by East African Muslim immigrants...
Grocery brands to cover losses on Amazon Prime Day
Lauren Manning, GroceryDive
July 8, 2019
· Certain grocery brands selling products during Amazon’s Prime Day will have to pay additional funding charges if sales of the products result in a loss, according to CNBC.
· Amazon, which purchases products wholesale and sells them directly through Prime, is imposing the charges to make up for profitability gaps.
· Amazon is waiving the placement fee of $500 that it normally charges to run a Prime Day promotion as part of the new financial arrangement.
This Prime Day, Amazon is trying a new approach to protect its bottom line when it comes to the notoriously low-margin grocery products that it sells online.
The new financial structure could disincentivize companies that want to sell through Amazon Prime. The previously required $500 placement fee was a known variable, but the new "additional funding" that could be charged makes it difficult for a company to predict any potential losses. If the product sells well, then the vendor won't have to cover the "profitability gap," but if there's a loss exceeding the $500 companies used to pay for placement, then the new arrangement is a bad deal for the seller.
For Amazon, the deal reiterates the company's recent push for profitability. Just this year, Amazon began blocking ads for unprofitable products and stopped selling some products altogether. According to the Wall Street Journal, these products often have bulky packaging, are priced below $15 and are expensive to ship, making for slimmer profits. The items usually fall into the grocery category, like bottled beverages and snack items.
The retailer's Prime Day grocery deals, however, will make margins even slimmer...