3,000 Amazon workers demand time off to vote: report

  • Amazon workers are demanding that the company give all US employees paid time off to vote in the upcoming election, NBC News reported Tuesday.
  • The petition, which gained more than 3,200 supporters, called for “a paid day/shift off that can be used anytime between now and Election Day on Nov 3” and “every year” in the future, according to NBC News.
  • “We have supplied all of our employees with information on how to register to vote, details of their local polling locations and how to request time off to vote,” an Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider.
  • Amazon and subsidiary Whole Foods employ nearly 1.4 million workers in the US.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Amazon workers, who have become increasingly vocal about the company’s policies during the pandemic, have a new demand: time off to vote in the upcoming US elections.

More than 3,200 Amazon workers have signed a petition circulating internally demanding the company give its entire US workforce a paid day or shift off to vote, NBC News reported Tuesday.

“We are less than a month away from the 2020 US election. I strongly urge the company to provide the entire US employee workforce with a paid day/shift off that can be used anytime between now and Election Day on Nov 3,” read the petition, which has been circulating on an internal Amazon support ticket system, according to NBC News.

The petition also demanded that the “additional day/shift off must be available to all employees every year,” NBC News reported.

Amazon and its subsidiary Whole Foods have 1,372,000 “front-line” workers across the US — accounting for roughly 1 of every 200 of the country’s voting-age population — but doesn’t currently guarantee them time off to vote in person.

“We have supplied all of our employees with

German Amazon workers are striking on Prime Day after it scrapped their COVID-19 bonus payments



Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images


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Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

  • German Amazon workers are striking during the company’s Prime Day, a two-day discount event.
  • Workers at seven Amazon warehouses in cities including Leipzig and Koblenz are striking in shifts to avoid large crowds.
  • Amazon staff have been working “without adequate protection” during the pandemic, and the company has scrapped its coronavirus bonus, German trade union Verdi said.
  • An Amazon spokesman told Business Insider that the strikes will have no impact on its deliveries in Germany.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

German staff at Amazon are striking during the e-commerce giant’s annual Prime Day event on Tuesday and Wednesday over pay and conditions in its warehouses since the outbreak of the pandemic.

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Workers at seven Amazon warehouses in cities including Leipzig and Koblenz are striking in shifts to avoid large crowds.

The country’s second-largest union, Verdi, said it was organizing the strike because staff have been working “without adequate protection,” and haven’t been compensated for the additional stress of working during the pandemic.

An Amazon spokesperson told Business Insider that the strikes will not impact its deliveries in Germany, the company’s second-biggest market after the US.

The company already offers “excellent pay, benefits, and opportunities for career growth,” they added, with a safe working environment that is “set up to help them succeed.”

The company told Reuters that most employees in Germany were working as normal.

Orhan Akman, Verdi’s retail representative, pointed out that at the end of May, the company scrapped a coronavirus bonus of 2 euros ($2.36) an hour, just two months after it was introduced. 

Amazon can “certainly” afford to pay staff the bonus, Akman claimed, because it doesn’t face the same problems that are causing bricks and mortar retailers to fold during the

Coinbase Workers Rattled by Politics Ban and Fear Being Muzzled

(Bloomberg) — Coinbase Inc.’s clampdown on discussing politics and activism at work — and the offer of severance packages to employees who don’t want to comply — continues to ripple through the cryptocurrency exchange and Silicon Valley.



a group of people standing in a living room: Inside the Coinbase Inc. office in San Francisco, California, U.S., in 2017.


© Bloomberg
Inside the Coinbase Inc. office in San Francisco, California, U.S., in 2017.

Many employees were shocked by Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong’s blog post imposing the rules Sunday, and some are concerned that he is trying to stymie discourse that should be happening, according to two people familiar with the situation who asked not to be identified. Neither knew of anyone taking an exit package from the San Francisco-based company, but employees have until Oct. 7 to apply.

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Jack Dorsey, Twitter Inc.’s CEO and a noted Bitcoin advocate, criticized Armstrong’s ban on politics, saying late Wednesday the change runs counter to the core principles of cryptocurrencies. Other veterans of the digital-asset industry suggested Armstrong’s stance represents a broader shift taking place in a sector that was founded by computer hackers and libertarian-leaning programmers.

Twitter’s former CEO, Dick Costolo, also weighed in, tweeting that “me-first capitalists who think you can separate society from business are going to be the first people lined up against the wall and shot in the revolution.”

Read more: Coinbase’s no-politics stance rankles Silicon Valley

The polarizing 2020 campaign, epitomized by the chaotic debate this week between President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden, has left many companies struggling with how to stay above the fray. But the cryptocurrency industry, built on iconoclastic ideas, faces its own challenges.

“This is highlighting an evolution in crypto culture,” said Adam Draper, a venture capitalist who was an early investor in Coinbase. “Crypto is about the innovation in finance and connecting the world’s financial infrastructure. The culture of

Amazon says 19,816 workers have contracted COVID-19

1.44 percent of Amazon’s front-line employees, or 19,816 workers, have tested positive or been “presumed positive for COVID-19,” Amazon said in a blog post published Thursday. The company says it employs 1,372,000 front-line employees across both Amazon and Whole Foods.

The blog marks the first time Amazon has disclosed how many of its workers have contracted COVID-19, and comes after months of demands for increased transparency from workers, governments, and Amazon investors. Amazon warehouse workers have reportedly even worked amongst themselves to attempt to determine how many of their colleagues have contracted the disease. The disclosure is also notable following comments from Amazon senior vice president of worldwide operations Dave Clark in May, who said that the “total number of cases isn’t particularly useful” in a 60 Minutes interview.

Amazon points out that its 19,816 cases are lower than the 33,952 it estimated it would have seen, when comparing its total employee count with a general population case rate reported by Johns Hopkins University. But while that might paint Amazon in a positive light, at least 10 employees have died from the disease, NBC News confirmed with Amazon in an article published yesterday. The company didn’t discuss those deaths in today’s blog post.

Amazon says it conducts thousands of COVID-19 tests per day, with a goal of doing 50,000 tests a day across 650 sites by November. The company also says it has distributed more than 100 million face masks, instituted temperature checks, and introduced “enhanced cleaning procedures” at its sites.

However, workers at a warehouse in Indianapolis, Indiana told The Verge that cleaning has been uneven and that the site has been too crowded for appropriate social distancing in May. And three warehouse workers sued the company in June,

Google workers say NDAs ban whistleblowing, violate free speech

  • Google contractors alleged in a lawsuit that they were required to sign illegal nondisclosure agreements that prevented them from whistleblowing and violated their free speech rights.
  • According to a California court’s discussion of the legal proceedings, the workers claimed Google’s rules barred them from reporting “violations of state and federal law,” “unsafe or discriminatory working conditions,” and “wage and hour violations.”
  • The workers, some of whom were employed via the staffing agency Adecco, claimed they couldn’t even write “novels” or “reassure their parents they are making enough money to pay their bills.”
  • Google’s contract workers have increasingly raised issues over how they’re treated compared to full-time employees.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Google contractors have alleged in a lawsuit that they’re required to sign illegal nondisclosure agreements that violate their rights of “competition, whistleblowing, and freedom of speech” under California law.

In the lawsuit, which a California appellate court discussed in a ruling last week, the workers accused Google and Adecco, the staffing agency through which some of them were employed, of violating their legal rights to discuss a range of workplace issues.

Google and Adecco did not respond to requests for comment.

“Google’s confidentiality rules prevent employees from disclosing violations of state and federal law, either within Google to their managers or outside Google to private attorneys or government officials,” they alleged, according to the court, including “disclosing information about unsafe or discriminatory working conditions, or about wage and hour violations.”

“They are forbidden even to write a novel about working in Silicon Valley or to reassure their parents they are making enough money to pay their bills, matters untethered to any legitimate need for confidentiality,” the court said of the workers.

The contracts also allegedly barred employees from talking about the “skills, knowledge, and experience they