Clip of the Week: Worker Exploitation

This week, Internet shopping giant Amazon announced that it would raise the minimum wage for its full-time, part-time, seasonal and temporary employees to $15 after sustained outcries over harrowing working conditions wherein workers were not allowed sufficient break times to eat or use restrooms-- resorting to using nearby trashcans instead-- and working while injured on the job, lest they be docked much needed pay. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has a net worth of $161 billion dollars, and Amazon turned a profit of over a billion dollars in 2017 alone, yet the corporation paid almost no federal taxes while many of its employees couldn't earn a livable wage, in addition to employing extreme measures to discourage formations of staff unions. Boycotts and strikes rolled out in time for Amazon Prime Day to fight back, putting widely-publicized pressure on the conglomerate. While workers' rights organizations like Fight For 15 cheered Amazon's change of heart, revelations materialized that the wage increase may not apply to the company's contractors, who have been facing the most brutal of circumstances. Workers who fought hard for a better way of life are returning to a hollow gesture of public relations because the monster of capitalism remains undefeated.

 

In this Clip of the Week, Economic Update host and professor Richard Wolff discusses the ugly pushback to raising the minimum wage since the dawn of the industrial age and our country's history of exploiting unpaid labor. Watch the whole episode now.