Infotech TikTok influencers boycott Amazon in support of unionization

TikTok influencers boycott Amazon in support of unionization

The suspension of any partnership to obtain better working conditions for Amazon employees: young creators of the TikTok platform are using their popularity to bend the e-commerce giant.

With the campaign “People Over Prime”70 influencers of the social network, cumulating more than 51 million subscribers, launched a petition to put pressure on Amazon in the United States and push the company to meet the demands of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU).

The sequel after the ad

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In a letter addressed to the Seattle giant, the Gen-Z for Change collective, behind this initiative, announces that “Until changes happen, we will prevent Amazon from monetizing one of the largest social networks in the world”.

“We are reclaiming this power”

Demands include a $30 minimum hourly wage, an increase in sick leave, and an end to union busting.

“We’ve long known how essential creators are to Amazon’s marketing model”explains to AFP Elise Joshi, 20, director of strategy for Gen-Z for Change.

“Creators, especially TikTok creators are a gateway to young people. Amazon knows how powerful creators are and we are reclaiming that power.”adds Elise Joshi, followed by 3 million people on the short video sharing application.

The sequel after the ad

Thanks to the Amazon Influencer Program, launched in 2017, the American group offers prominent users of different platforms (TikTok, YouTube, Instagram) the opportunity to earn money by recommending Amazon products to their subscribers on a personalized page.

Intimidation strategy

It is this device that “People Over Prime” decided to boycott in order to carry the demands of ALU.

The organization, which is not directly associated with the campaign, became Amazon’s first U.S. union in early April at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York.

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It failed to double down in May in a vote at another New York sorting center, but its officials denounced Amazon’s propaganda and bullying strategy to derail the project.

The sequel after the ad

Second largest employer in the United States behind the Walmart hypermarket chain, the group founded by Jeff Bezos has fiercely opposed, since its creation in 1994, attempts to unionize in the country.

“The health, safety and well-being of our employees is our number one priority”assured Paul Flanigan, a spokesperson for Amazon, in a statement sent to AFP in response to the campaign of TikTok influencers.

“We feel indebted”

“We have invested billions of dollars in new security measures, technologies and other innovative solutions to protect our employees (…) We are committed to providing our employees with the resources they need to succeed by creating time for regular breaks and a comfortable work pace”he added.

Unconvincing arguments for Elise Joshi, who qualifies them as “standard response from a large company refusing to acknowledge legitimate allegations of workplace abuse and union busting”.

The sequel after the ad

“Their response shows how reluctant they are to listen to their employees and I hope that means more creators will get involved”she continues.

For the members of Gen-Z for Change, reaching out to tens of millions of young Internet users brings a special responsibility in the defense of social rights.

“We feel indebted because we have a huge platform and a passion for fairness”claims Connor Hesse, 19, content coordinator for Gen-Z for Change.

Thousands of bogus applications

“This is a great opportunity to help Amazon employees and make their voices heard”adds the creator, proud of his 2.3 million subscribers on TikTok.

The sequel after the ad

Amazon is the most recent target of the group of activists, who previously led actions to denounce the anti-unionism of the coffee chain Starbucks or the large retail group Kroger.

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Influencers sent tens of thousands of bogus applications for positions of employees on strike or seeking to unionize and that the management of these companies wanted to replace.

For Aly, who runs the account (871,000 subscribers on TikTok) and signed the young creators’ petition, a massive mobilization in favor of the rights of Amazon employees can have a snowball effect.

“Campaigns like People Over Prime will gain speed and effectiveness and other large companies will either make changes upstream or become future targets”predicts this young American mother living in Germany.

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