New York, Dec 2 (efe-epa).- Dozens of activists gathered Wednesday afternoon outside Jeff Bezos’s luxury apartment on New York City’s Fifth Avenue to protest against Amazon.com, Inc.’s business practices and working conditions, saying they are further enriching the world’s wealthiest person at a time when small businesses are being forced to close during the coronavirus pandemic.
Organized by the ALIGN-NY, Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change organizations, the protest called on lawmakers to pass legislation to break up Amazon, saying the company has grown far too big and used monopolistic practices to become excessively dominant in the e-commerce industry.
They also said that while small businesses are disappearing due to the pandemic business tycoons like Bezos, Amazon’s founder and CEO, are making “billions of dollars.”
Among the protesters’ demands, they called on New York state legislators to pass a law that would force Amazon to provide greater protection to its workers by implementing stricter coronavirus safety standards and providing them with more avenues for denouncing health safety deficiencies.
After several health-related complaints were leveled against Amazon, more than 65 community and labor organizations this week signed a letter addressed to state legislators urging them to clamp down on the Seattle-based company.
Amazon has seen increased demand for its services worldwide and been one of the top-performing multinationals during the pandemic. Since the start of the year, the company’s share price on Wall Street has nearly doubled, rising from $1,898.01 per share on Jan. 2 to a current price of $3,203.53 per share at Wednesday’s close.
It has hired 427,300 employees worldwide in just 10 months. The company also raised the salaries of warehouse workers – those most at risk from the coronavirus – but did not make those pay increases permanent.
Bezos’s net worth has risen by roughly $90 billion during the pandemic, a two-fold increase in his fortune that has made him the wealthiest individual on the planet.
The protest was held outside a building on Fifth Avenue where Bezos purchased a luxury apartment last year for around $80 million.