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article imageProtesters to Amazon: Cut ties with fed's deportation agencies

By Karen Graham     Jul 15, 2019 in Business
As e-commerce giant Amazon begins its two-day "Amazon Prime Day", activists, immigrants and employees are protesting Amazon's labor practices and involvement with federal deportation efforts.
The strikes in Germany, under the slogan, "No more discount on our incomes," started on Sunday night in the cities of Werne, Rheinberg, Leipzig, Graben, Koblenz, and Bad Hersfeld where Amazon has facilities, the German union Verdi said in a statement, according to CNN.
"While Amazon throws huge discounts to its customers on Prime Day, employees lack a living wage," said Verdi retail specialist Orhan Akman. The union also wants collective bargaining agreements to be binding in nature across all of Germany's retail sector.
"The company must finally recognize collective agreements for the retail and postal sectors; wages and salaries cannot be determined in the style of lord of the manor," Akman said. Over 2,000 of Amazon's nearly 18,000 employees in Germany have participated in the strikes.
Prime protests in the U.S. against AMS
Activists in the United States are protesting how the Department of Homeland Security databases, which allow U.S. authorities to track down immigrants, is hosted by Amazon Web Services (AWS), reports Newsweek.
Amazon is also looking to extend its services to include DHS biometric databases that contain other details about people, including eye color, tattoos and other identifiers. according to the Guardian.
Activists are also saying that workers at the company, worth close to a trillion dollars, face long hours with few bathroom breaks and do not get a living wage. Protests will take place on Monday at Amazon's offices in San Francisco and Seattle.
Warehouse workers in Shakopee, Minnesota, will put down tools for several hours as they call for the company to make temporary jobs into full-time jobs, make all benefits available for all employees and reduce allegedly unsafe quotas, reports
On Monday, protesters will deliver to Jeff Bezos’s home in Manhattan a petition with 250,000 signatures, calling on Amazon to cut ties with government agencies responsible for deportation.
“Boycotting Amazon is not enough – we must demand this corporation change the ways in which it is functioning in our country and in the world,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, executive director at New York City-based labor and social justice organization ALIGN, adding that the actions are especially important as Amazon faces federal antitrust action, testifying in Congress about whether its size and power prevents fair competition in the technology industry. “Consumers have a very important role to play here.”
According to a statement given by an Amazon spokesman to Buzzfeed, the company maintains that it is up to the U.S. government to determine the technology that should be used for deportation purposes, not the vendors themselves:
“As we’ve said many times and continue to believe strongly, companies and government organizations need to use existing and new technology responsibly and lawfully. There is clearly a need for more clarity from governments on what is acceptable use of AI and ramifications for its misuse, and we’ve provided a proposed legislative framework for this. We remain eager for the government to provide this additional clarity and legislation, and will continue to offer our ideas and specific suggestions.”
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