Protesters marched from Will Rogers Memorial Park in Beverly Hills to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ $165million mansion to demand the company address labor and environmental problems that arose during the coronavirus pandemic.
The demonstrators are also calling for child care for employees, free healthcare, as well as higher wages.
Sponsored by the Congress of Essential Workers, a collective of warehouse employees, teachers, and servers, the protest was led by Chris Smalls, a former Amazon warehouse manager who was fired after trying to organize a work stoppage over the company’s handling of the crisis.
Smalls said through a bullhorn: “You don’t need Jeff Bezos. He needs us!”
The protesters who yelled ‘f*** Bezos’ were joined by climate activist groups Extinction Rebellion and Sunrise Movement.
TCOEW said in a statement: “We demand that Jeff Bezos and the rest of the billionaire class pay their fair share to deal with the climate crisis.
“We are calling for a decent living wage of $30/hour minimum for all Amazon employees, Medicare and childcare for all, and the right to unionize without fear of retaliation.
“These are just a few of the issues that we feel billionaires like Jeff Bezos, who makes nearly $4,000 a second, can absolutely help relieve or resolve.”
Protesters who wore face masks carried signs that read ‘share with your country,’ ‘your greed is killing us,’ ‘abolish billionaires,’ and ‘f*** Bezos.’
Some placards urged the billionaire to consider environmental changes, with one sign that read ‘science not silence,’ and ‘there is no planet B.’
Members of the Red Rebel Brigade Manifesto wore red ensembles as they highlighted the global environmental problem.
The protest came after almost 20,000 Amazon workers in the US have tested positive for coronavirus.
As soon as the group arrived at the gate of Bezos’ mansion, Smalls shouted ‘enough is enough!’
He added: “Destroying small businesses, destroying working class people, destroying lower class people. Enough is enough. We’re tired, we’re done, and I want to say this…f*** Jeff Bezos!”
Amazon officials confirmed that Smalls was fired for ‘violating social distancing guidelines and putting the safety of others at risk.’
Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky wrote: “He’s not smart, or articulate, and to the extent the press wants to focus on us versus him, we will be in a much stronger PR position than simply explaining for the umpteenth time how we’re trying to protect workers.”
Zapolsky added: “We should spend the first part of our response strongly laying out the case for why the organizer’s conduct was immoral, unacceptable, and arguably illegal, in detail, and only then follow with our usual talking points about worker safety.
“Make him the most interesting part of the story, and if possible make him the face of the entire union/organizing movement.”
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