Amazon’s Pollution, Traffic, and Unlawful Practices are not Prime for North Andover or for the Merrimack Valley.
Bad for the Environment
As COVID-19 creates a boom in internet retail, companies like Amazon are going into overdrive. Labor organizers and environmental health activists are rising to the moment and confronting the wizard behind the curtain of online shopping: the logistics operations that are as problematic as they are profitable.
Amazon‘s quasi-dystopian workplace culture is far from its only moral failure in a corporate world that increasingly expects big companies to do the right thing. Its environmental record is badly smudged. Unlike some of its biggest rivals, the e-commerce giant refuses to release information about energy consumption at its data centers. Only last November did it start using renewable energy to power some of these electricity-guzzling facilities. In addition, the company offers to recycle customers’ old devices, but the program is far from comprehensive.
Over the past year, Amazon has reduced the portion of shipments it packs in its cardboard boxes in favor of lightweight plastic mailers, which enable the retailing giant to squeeze more packages in delivery trucks and planes. But environmental activists and waste experts say the new plastic sacks, which aren’t recyclable in curbside recycling bins, are having a negative effect.
Amazon has been criticised by environmental groups and customers after introducing a range of plastic packaging that cannot be recycled in the UK. While supermarkets and other retailers have been reducing their use of single use plastics, the world’s biggest online retailer has started sending small items in plastic envelopes, seemingly to allow more parcels to be loaded on to each delivery truck.
Many global corporate giants have been sharing their data on carbon emissions with CDP, a nonprofit that gathers that information on behalf of big institutional investors worried about how their assets will fare in a warming world. But Amazon.com, unlike many of its rivals, keeps those cards close to the chest. CDP, formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project, queries companies about carbon emissions and other data every year to build what it says is the most detailed collection of self-reported environmental information anywhere.
Amazon has changed the way Americans shop. This year, the e-commerce giant said its annual Prime Day sale was “the biggest shopping event in Amazon history.” During the 36-hour event, people bought over 100 million products, crashed the website, and signed up for more Prime memberships than ever before. The behavior is indicative of the buying culture Amazon created. The company's ease, speed, and savings — underscored by killer perks like free, expedited shipping and simple returns — has encouraged more people to shop online, more often.
Since 2005, Amazon has attracted hundreds of millions of customers to its Prime membership program by promising one thing — free and fast shipping, with products arriving within 48 hours or less. There had been numerous caveats to Amazon’s free two-day shipping program: For orders with some small items, Prime has required customers to spend a minimum of $25 before they qualify for free shipping, and orders, in general, can take longer than two days to reach a customer.
On September 20, hundreds of Amazon workers plan to walk out of the company's Seattle headquarters. The organized action is in part to support the worldwide climate strike set to take place that day, but is just as much an effort to get the attention of Amazon's leadership, which has been largely silent on the company's impact on our environment.
Greenpeace has made a tradition out of raking companies over the coals when their environmental practices fall short of its standards, and that's truer than ever in the activist group's latest electronics report card. The organization didn't list any major company whose environmental stances (including renewable energy, sustainable products and toxin-free materials) were good enough to merit an "A" grade, and four companies earned an unflattering "F" -- including internet giant Amazon. According to Greenpeace, Jeff Bezos' brainchild falls well short on most marks.
Bad for Taxpayers
In 2018, Amazon paid $0 in U.S. federal income tax on more than $11 billion in profits before taxes. It also received a $129 million tax rebate from the federal government. Amazon’s low tax bill mainly stemmed from the Republican tax cuts of 2017, carryforward losses from years when the company was not profitable, tax credits for massive investments in R&D and stock-based employee compensation.
Last year, Yahoo Finance reported that Amazon (AMZN) paid a shockingly low amount in federal income taxes in 2018 on more than $11 billion in profits: $0. But this year, while the company says it has paid “billions” in taxes for the year 2019, in reality it only paid $162 million in federal income tax — an effective tax rate of 1.2% on over $13 billion in profits.
The big six US tech firms have been accused of “aggressively avoiding” $100bn (£75bn) of global tax over the past decade. Amazon, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Apple and Microsoft have been named in a report by tax transparency campaign group Fair Tax Mark as avoiding tax by shifting revenue and profits through tax havens or low-tax countries, and for also delaying the payment of taxes they do incur.
Amazon, the e-commerce giant helmed by the world’s richest man, paid no federal taxes on profit of $11.2 billion last year, according to an analysis of the company’s corporate filings by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), a progressive think tank. Thanks to a variety of tax credits and a significant tax break available on pay handed out in the form of company stock, Amazon actually received a federal tax rebate of $129 million last year, giving it an effective federal tax rate of roughly -1 percent.
Amazon’s recent decision to pull HQ2 out of New York City has reignited an older debate about why the company pays “no taxes.” One graphic, for example, produced by data journalist Mona Chalabi and subsequently reshared by House member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez among many others, shows two superimposed graphs comparing Amazon’s quickly growing profit next to its negligible taxes over the last nine years.
New York (CNN Business)Amazon hasn't paid any taxes to the US government in the past two years. Actually, Amazon received hundreds of millions of dollars in federal tax credits in 2017 and 2018. That might seem nuts, considering Amazon is the third-most valuable company in the world and earned a record $10 billion last year. But critics of Amazon's tax bill aren't accusing Amazon of doing anything improper.
While some people have received some surprise tax bills when filing their returns, corporations continue to avoid paying tax — thanks to a cocktail of tax credits, loopholes, and exemptions. According to a report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), Amazon (AMZN) will pay nothing in federal income taxes for the second year in a row.
Amazon will pay $0 in federal taxes this year — here's how the $793 billion company gets away with it
The company's tax payments are not keeping up with its great wealth. OK, that's a profound understatement.
Bad for Businesses
California investigators are examining Amazon.com Inc.’s business practices as part of an inquiry into the tech giant, according to people familiar with the matter. The state’s review focuses at least in part on how Amazon treats sellers in its online marketplace, these people said. That includes Amazon’s practices for selling its own products in competition with third-party sellers, one of the people said. Neither Amazon nor California has disclosed an antitrust investigation.
California investigators are examining Amazon.com Inc.’s AMZN -0.51% business practices as part of an inquiry into the tech giant, according to people familiar with the matter. The state’s review focuses at least in part on how Amazon treats sellers in its online marketplace, these people said. That includes Amazon’s practices for selling its own products in competition with third-party sellers, one of the people said. Neither Amazon nor California has disclosed an antitrust investigation.
How Amazon’s Business Practices Harm American Consumers: Why Amazon Needs a Competitor and Why Walmart Ain’t It
$1,950,000. That’s what our company paid Amazon last year. We sell plush and construction toys on Amazon. Well, technically, we sell toys on our website, on eBay, on Walmart.com, to brick-and-mortar stores, and we sell on Amazon. But, really, we only sell on Amazon. In 2018, we had about $4,000,000 in sales but Amazon.com accounted for over 98% of that.
Amazon's business practices, handling of third-party sellers reportedly under review by California, Washington
NEW YORK — State officials in California and Washington are reviewing Amazon's business practices to determine whether the company is violating any laws with respect to the independent merchants that sell goods on its site, according to published reports.
A US senator is calling on the Justice Department to open a criminal probe of Amazon’s “predatory data practices.” Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO.), who has long been critical of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies and their privacy practices, expressed concern Tuesday about a Monday report that Amazon collects data about third-party products it sells on its website in order to create its own Amazon branded copies.
Amazon is reportedly facing a new antitrust investigation into its online marketplace led by the FTC and attorneys general in New York and California
State attorneys general from New York and California have teamed up with the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Amazon's online marketplace, Bloomberg reported Monday. The agencies plan to begin interviewing witnesses in the coming weeks, according Bloomberg.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos told a congressional antitrust hearing on Wednesday that he was unsure if his company had used the data of third-party sellers to inform Amazon’s business decisions, in violation of its own policies. Bezos made the admission during questioning by Representative Pramila Jayapal (D., Wash.), whose district in Seattle is home to Amazon headquarters. Amazon has faced accusations from former employees that the company has used data from third-party sellers to market and manufacture its own products
New York and California’s attorneys general are joining forces with the Federal Trade Commission in its antitrust investigation of Amazon, according to Bloomberg’s Spencer Soper. Though the FTC and California’s probes were previously disclosed, New York’s involvement and the inter-agency cooperation have not been reported. Under the agreement, California, New York, and the FTC will share findings and interview witnesses.
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.—This community was still reeling from the recession in 2012 when it got a piece of what seemed like good news. Amazon, the global internet retailer, was opening a massive 950,000-square-foot distribution center, one of its first in California, and hiring more than 1,000 people here.“This opportunity is a rare and wonderful thing,” San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris told a local newspaper at the time.
Bad for Community
OAKLAND, Calif. — A day after lawmakers grilled the chief executives of the biggest tech companies about their size and power, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet and Facebook reported surprisingly healthy quarterly financial results, defying one of the worst economic downturns on record. Even though the companies felt some sting from the spending slowdown, they demonstrated, as critics have argued, that they are operating on a different playing field from the rest of the economy.
WASHINGTON, July 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- According to a new survey report from Clutch, a B2B ratings and reviews platform, only 22% of people trust Amazon to safely deliver their packages compared to four other shipping carriers: UPS, United States Postal Service (USPS), FedEx, and DHL. The past seven months have seen an increase in online shopping with individuals spending more time at home and staying away from in-person shopping. There has also been a consequent rise in package theft.
Amazon has warned that its wireless headphones may be at risk of overheating. The Echo Buds, wireless in-ears that have the company’s voice assistant Alexa built into them, have had their temperature increase while in the charging case. Amazon has since released a software update to address the issue, having sent an email to customers warning them of the situation. The past seven months have seen an increase in online shopping with individuals spending more time at home and staying away from in-person shopping. There has also been a consequent rise in package theft.
Demonstrators in Washington, D.C., showed up in front of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos’s house on Sunday, with a mock guillotine and a sign that read “support our poor communities not our wealthy men.” In an announcement about the march, the activists called for Amazon to be abolished.
A quarter-century ago, Jeff Bezos was a finance nerd with a tiny bookselling website. You know what happened next. Bezos’s career arc tracks the shift of technology from a relatively fringe industry into a central force in the world. And that’s exactly why Bezos and the chief executives of three other American tech stars will be testifying this week at a congressional panel investigating possible abuses of their power. The congressional hot seat shows how far the industry has come.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos will tell the House Judiciary antitrust subcommittee Wednesday that his tech enterprise is a classic American company with an “obsessive customer focus” that employs a million people, according to prepared remarks released by the company. Bezos, the richest man in the world, will appear on Capitol Hill along with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and the CEO of Google parent company Alphabet, Sundar Pichai.
Amazon is facing backlash after it featured brown shoes for sale that were described as “n****r brown.” A British lawmaker discovered the listing while shopping online and the listing has since been taken down. The fact that it was ever able to be featured on the retail giant’s website has many prompting for tighter controls on its item descriptions.
Bad for Workers
This story was originally published Sept. 18, 2011. You can read more of our series on Amazon.com's Lehigh Valley warehouse at themorningcall.com/amazon. Elmer Goris spent a year working in Amazon.com's Lehigh Valley warehouse, where books, CDs and various other products are packed and shipped to customers who order from the world's largest online retailer.
The Supreme Court just handed a big holiday present to low-wage workers across America in the form of a giant f*ck you. It’s a reminder that while on some cases the court—like politics in general—may seem divided by red and blue, when it comes to decisions that affect big business in America, it’s all about the green. Forget the bullpucky about the “War on Christmas.” There’s a real “War on the Working Class” under way, and the Supreme Court just made it worse. So much for happy holidays.
Timed toilet breaks, impossible targets and workers falling asleep on feet: Brutal life working in Amazon warehouse
Alone in a locked metal cage, 10 feet from my nearest colleague, a robot approaches from the shadows and thrusts a tower of shelves towards me. I have nine seconds to grab and process an item to be sent for packing – a target of 300 items an hour, for hour after relentless hour. As I bend to the floor then reach high above my head to fulfil a never-ending stream of orders, my body screams at me.
A group of workers with their fists raised in solidarity hold a scrawled sign: “We are humans not robots!” They and others at an Amazon warehouse in Minnesota protested in March and on July’s Amazon Prime Days. They were speaking against the day-to-day dehumanizing reality of their workplace. If your only interaction with Amazon is packages arriving on your doorstep, it can be hard to understand what workers are unhappy about, or why one described his fulfillment center as an “existential sh-thole,” or why so many others shared stories about crying at work.
It took just three days of working full time at an Amazon “fulfillment center” outside of Louisville, Kentucky, for Emily Guendelsberger’s body to break down. She’d been warned by her supervisors that it would be physically demanding. She’d be on her feet for 12-hour shifts, walking a total of 15 to 20 miles through a 25-acre warehouse — as long as seven New York blocks — looking for merchandise to fulfill online orders. One Amazon training video included a testimonial from an employee who claimed she’d lost 20 pounds from all the walking, “posing it as a benefit,” says Guendelsberger.
Throughout Amazon’s 25-year history, there have been multiple rumblings of workers trying to unionize, but to no success. With record-breaking sales numbers and newly doubled shipping speeds, however, momentum to organize has picked up among some of Amazon’s more than 650,000 worldwide employees. Three big unions are among those talking to Amazon workers — the Teamsters, the United Food & Commercial Workers Union and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Recent worker protests point to organizing efforts.
Amazon’s revenues topped $33m an hour in the first three months of the year as the coronavirus pandemic locked down large parts of the world. The sales boost has handed Amazon the biggest dilemma of its 25-year life: how to deal with a growing chorus of critics within the company. So far its reaction has only made matters worse. Last week an Amazon vice-president, Tim Bray, resigned in protest at what he called the company’s “chickenshit” decision to fire colleagues in the company’s warehouse division who had highlighted safety issues.
An Amazon.com Inc. warehouse worker in Shakopee, Minnesota, has accused the company of retaliating against her for protesting what she says are unsafe working conditions during the pandemic. In a letter to Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, Hibaq Mohamed said managers were demanding that she account for time away from her workstation -- including increments of less than three minutes.
Bad for Residents
New York's top prosecutor has accused Amazon of falling short of health and safety laws in its response to the coronavirus pandemic. In a lawsuit, Attorney General Letitia James said Amazon had displayed a "flagrant disregard" for the rules and illegally retaliated against workers who raised concerns. Amazon last week attempted to block the lawsuit with its own legal action. It said Ms James was applying "an inconsistent and unfair" standard.
ARLINGTON, Va. — Amazon deliveries may be delayed for some folks because of the coronavirus, but construction of Amazon’s Virginia headquarters is moving right along, with piledriving work so loud it’s driving the stuck-at-home neighbors crazy.
The Grand Island Town Board spoke with local residents Monday night about the proposed 3.8 million-square-foot Amazon warehouse, also known as Project Olive. They were met by a majority of speakers and protestors who opposed the project and are asking for multiple public hearings before any final decisions are made.
‘Amazon is not taking care of us’: Warehouse workers say they’re struggling to get paid despite sick leave policy
Sharlene wanted to continue reporting to her job at Amazon. She needed the money to pay her bills and support her family. But after a trip to the emergency room, Sharlene, who didn’t want her full name used out of fear of retribution from her employer, was instructed to self-quarantine.
'We Were Proven Right,' Says AOC After Amazon Expands in New York Without Taking Billions in Public Cash
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested the Trump administration "focus more on cutting public assistance to billionaires instead of poor families" after news broke Friday that Amazon was expanding its presence in New York City without the state giving the company billions in tax incentives.
As 'Corporate Bribery' Lands Amazon HQ2 in Queens, Ocasio-Cortez Says 'Outrage' Best Describes Community Response
The idea that Amazon "will receive hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks at a time when our subway is crumbling and our communities need more investment, not less, is extremely concerning to residents here."
The proposed Amazon megaproject on Grand Island came under withering criticism during Monday’s Town Board meeting from residents who fear a devastating effect on the town’s quality of life. Speakers said the 3.8 million-square-foot facility is far too big for the island, would generate too much traffic.
GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WKBW) — About 100 people gathered on Grand Island Friday evening to oppose a plan to build an Amazon facility on Long Road, off I-190. From traffic concerns to environmental concerns, the Coalition for Responsible Economic Development for Grand Island (CRED4GI) has a petition asking the Grand Island Town Board to oppose the project. The group, which formed in July, said 1,300 people have signed the petition.
Don’t let Jeff Bezos turn North Andover into North Amazon!
Amazon’s harmful practices are well documented. With its giant complex in North Andover, Amazon could increase pollution, traffic, and unlawful employment practices in our town.
Did you know? Amazon’s complex received $27 million in corporate welfare and tax breaks not from the state, not from D.C., but directly from the pockets of North Andover taxpayers. North Andover households are now each paying an average of $2,400 to Amazon, just so Amazon can bring their pollution, traffic, safety violations, potential decrease of residential property values, and possible out-of-state workers to our town.
While Jeff Bezos adds to his billions (almost trillions) with our hard-earned tax dollars, North Andover is on its way to becoming Amazon’s next victim.
Join local efforts to hold Amazon accountable for how it treats the community, the environment, and workers.
Together, we should ensure Amazon plays by the rules, protects our property values, and builds their complex in an ethical way, using developers and contractors who will ensure safety, quality wages and allow workers a voice on the job.
Right now, our elected officials need to demand a comprehensive, responsible employer agreement from Amazon, before it’s too late.