NBC Tells Warehouse Workers Now Is the Time to Strike
NBC News is the type of outlet that makes us wonder if they are self-aware. This story is a prime example. We would like to think that they are being campy but who knows? They have filed the story as a “Hot Take” and that’s the most honest thing that they have said in months.
Paris Marx is the one who is personally responsible for this opinion or how tongue in cheek it really is. He’s a socialist writer and that name is a little too on the nose, don’t you think? Of course, he believes that Instacart and Amazon are wasting some sort of valuable opportunity here.
That’s right, this man is willing to go on television and say that the coronavirus pandemic is actually some sort of golden ticket. In Marx’s mind, the pandemic is merely something that can be leveraged by those who are looking to negotiate a higher level of pay for themselves.
While there is probably some truth to that statement, that does not mean that it needed to be said aloud. This is one of the biggest problems that liberals and socialists have nowadays. Their hearts might be in the right place but they do not know how to deliver their message without it coming across in the wrong way.
If you are a disciple of Rahm Emanuel, you remember his saying about never allowing a crisis to go to waste. Marx is not the first to offer the suggestion, either. Chris Smalls already tried to convince workers at the Amazon Staten Island warehouse that they needed to go on strike, too.
The protests that being encouraged are not actually going to help anyone, though. In many instances, the protests will only create an environment where the coronavirus can spread even faster. Marx and Smalls seem to think that this will augur a new chapter for laborers in the United States.
They fail to realize that the companies they are railing against also view this moment as their chance to pounce. Now that so many brick and mortar businesses have been shut down for the foreseeable future, companies like Amazon view this as their opportunity to seize a greater share of the market.
Front line workers may believe that they have leverage but how are they actually going to use it? With so many people out of work already, does a mass walkout really pose a threat? Instacart and Amazon are also seeing an influx in orders from those who are looking to stay indoors. The workers are currently putting themselves at risk in order to deliver the items in question but the companies are not looking to support them.
While it is hard to argue that these employees are any less essential than the executives who are raking in the big bucks, there is not much that can be done. 10 million Americans have been forced to file for unemployment benefits. Many of these people do not know where their next paycheck is coming from. If the warehouse workers decide that they are going to walk out, they can be replaced in the blink of an eye.
Before the pandemic took place, Amazon had raised their wages in hopes of staying competitive in the marketplace. They were unable to staff their facilities and had pledged to raise their entry pay. The labor market has now changed drastically. In a world where unemployment rates are comparable to the Great Depression, people are going to be looking for ways to put food on their table.
Over the past decade, tech companies have become a driving force of U.S. economic power. And the COVID-19 shutdown has provided many of them with an opportunity to increase their share of consumer spending as many brick-and-mortar businesses are closed. Brian Merchant, author of “The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone,” has gone so far as to call this moment the “Amazonification” of the economy. But it’s not just the companies that see an opportunity; their front-line workers have unprecedented leverage, and in the face of inadequate coronavirus protections, they need to use it.
With millions of people now staying home to slow the spread of the virus, delivery services like Amazon and Instacart are seeing significant increases in orders. Amazon says it’s hiring 100,000 additional workers to staff its warehouses, while Instacart, which uses contractors to pick up and deliver groceries, announced in March that it plans to hire 300,000 new workers to meet demand. But these low-paid workers are also putting themselves at risk as their customers stay safely home. And it doesn’t yet seem like either company is doing enough to support them. …
Clearly, the pandemic has shown how many thousands of American workers live every day. Despite filling roles that are essential to modern life, they remain in a separate, lesser class of employee even as their executives make millions. On the other hand, this reality has also reinvigorated labor organizers. As Chris Smalls, the fired Amazon organizer, put it in a letter to Bezos: “You think you’re powerful? We’re the ones that have the power. Without us working, what are you going to do? You’ll have no money. We have the power. We make money for you. Never forget that.” It seems more workers may be waking up to that realization, and it can’t come soon enough.
A steady warehouse job is going to look great to someone who is caught in this position. Anyone who is willing to follow the advice that is given by Smalls and Marx is going to be left wondering how THEY will pay their bills once they have been immediately replaced.
This is the reality that we are living in. The warehouse workers who are risking their safety to continue working have not been handed some sort of golden opportunity that they need to be taking advantage of. Amazon is not going to be worried about any sort of mass walkout. They have a deep pool of prospects to choose from and the same goes for any other company.
Marx and his ilk should stop claiming that this pandemic is a worker’s goldmine. From the looks of it, the exact opposite is going to be true. Workers benefit from booming economies that create a tighter job market. The socialists of the world should probably stop projecting their fantasies onto the current situation. It’s time to get real.