Amazon copied products and rigged search results to promote its own brands

Amazon.com Inc has been repeatedly accused of knocking off products it sells on its website and of exploiting its vast trove of internal data to promote its own merchandise at the expense of other sellers. The company has denied the accusations.

But thousands of pages of internal Amazon documents examined by Reuters – including emails, strategy papers and business plans – show the company ran a systematic campaign of creating knockoffs and manipulating search results to boost its own product lines in India, one of the company’s largest growth markets.

The documents reveal how Amazon’s private-brands team in India secretly exploited internal data from Amazon.in to copy products sold by other companies, and then offered them on its platform. The employees also stoked sales of Amazon private-brand products by rigging Amazon’s search results so that the company’s products would appear, as one 2016 strategy report for India put it, “in the first 2 or three … search results” when customers were shopping on Amazon.in.

— source reuters.com | ADITYA KALRA, STEVE STECKLOW | Oct. 13, 2021

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California Passes Bill to Improve Conditions for Amazon Workers

The state Senate’s passage of Assembly Bill 701—which was expected to pass in the state Assembly on Friday, three months after the chamber approved its own version of the legislation—would require companies to disclose to the government and to their employees the quotas that are used to track productivity, prohibit penalties for “time off-task,” and bar companies from retaliating against workers who complain about the metrics used. As the workers’ rights platform Organise reported in a survey taken in 2018, 74% of Amazon warehouse workers avoided taking bathroom breaks for fear of not meeting quotas for packing merchandise, and more than half of the workers said they had suffered from depression since working for the e-commerce giant. Amazon employees sustain injuries more often than workers at other warehouses. Serious injuries were reported about 80% more often among Amazon workers than other employees. Amazon reported a net income of $21.3 billion in 2020, up $10 billion from the year before, and a revenue of more than $386 billion. Amazon’s profits were supercharged during Covid and Jeff Bezos got richer by $70 billion.

— source commondreams.org | Sep 10, 2021

Dont buy from them. buy local by paying cash.

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Amazon’s Jeff Bezos cashes in on coronavirus pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has sent millions of workers and their families, already scraping to survive, into a financial tailspin from which many will never recover. However, for the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, the pandemic has been a financial bonanza, sending Amazon shares, and Bezos’ personal net worth, soaring. While Amazon workers are risking their lives in contaminated factories and protesting against the lack of basic safety equipment (at least 74 Amazon facilities have reported workers infected with the virus), and workers are being fired for speaking out, the market value of Amazon has climbed above $1.1 trillion, slightly below the $1.22 trillion 2019 gross domestic product of Mexico.

For Bezos, this translates into a year-to-date jump of $23.6 billion in his personal net wealth, bringing his fortune to more than $138.5 billion. His ex-wife MacKenzie, with her 4 percent stake in the company, has seen her net worth more than quintuple, from $8.2 billion to $45.3 billion according to Bloomberg.

Bezos is not an aberration. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has added over $10 billion to his personal fortune in the first four months of the year, while Alice, Jim and Rob Walton, owners of mega-retailer Walmart, have profited fabulously from the pandemic, increasing their personal wealth by $2.9 billion, $2.36 billion and $2.42 billion respectively, without

— source wsws.org | 16 Apr 2020

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Lawyer Who Sued Chevron over Amazon Oil Spills, Marks 2 Years Under House Arrest

Protests across the United States are calling for the immediate release of environmental and human rights lawyer Steven Donziger, who has been held under house arrest in New York for two years after being targeted by the oil giant Chevron. Donziger sued the oil giant in Ecuador on behalf of 30,000 Amazonian Indigenous people for dumping 16 billion gallons of oil into their ancestral lands. Ecuador’s Supreme Court ordered Chevron to pay $18 billion a decade ago, a major victory for the environment and corporate accountability. But Chevron refused to pay or clean up the land, and instead launched a legal attack targeting Donziger in the United States. A federal judge in July found Donziger guilty of six counts of criminal contempt of court after he refused to turn over his computer and cellphone. In an unusual legal twist, the judge appointed a private law firm with ties to Chevron to prosecute Donziger, after federal prosecutors declined to bring charges. “This is a broader threat to our society,” says Donziger. “We cannot allow in any rule-of-law country, or any country, private prosecutions run by corporations.”

You know, it wasn’t a trial as trials are commonly understood. There was no jury. The judge, who had already locked me up pretrial — I’m the only lawyer in American history ever locked up pretrial on a misdemeanor. I want to emphasize: This is a misdemeanor case, a petty crime case. And I assert my innocence, but even if I were guilty, it’s a very minor case. No one’s ever been locked up pretrial but me. So the same judge who locked me up now for two years — I haven’t, you know, been sentenced to anything — is the judge who denied me a jury and alone decided my supposed guilt or innocence.

It was intended, really, to be sort of a show trial, where a decision that had previously been made by the Chevron prosecutor — the judge, Judge Preska, allowed a private law firm, Seward & Kissel, which has Chevron as a client, to prosecute me, after the government refused to prosecute me. It was all just precooked. And you kind of felt it watching it in the courtroom. During the trial, Judge Preska was reading the newspaper during witness testimony. All the main witnesses were Chevron lawyers. They testified that Chevron

— source democracynow.org | Aug 06, 2021

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Amazon “Profiting from This Pandemic”

To give some perspective on the scale of one of the largest warehouses on the East Coast, the JFK8 facility in Staten Island employs thousands, thousands who come to work from Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey.

Now, our members walked out last Monday because of the report of 10 positive cases in the facility. This Monday, yesterday, over 60 workers walked out again, because they are nearing 30 positive cases and Amazon has not done enough to institute safety protections, health protections, ensure sick leave for individuals who are not just showing symptoms but also have not tested positive. So, members of Make the Road New York, workers organizing with New York Communities for Change, and the Athena coalition took action to call on Governor Cuomo to intervene and to stop the spread of the transmission.

Now, we have Amazon workers who are members who say that they feel proud when they go into work and are packing essential items like diapers and food and medicine, but so many don’t feel the same way when they are walking into a facility risking their lives just to ship glitter tattoos and board games. Now, if we don’t call on Amazon to put their billions towards protecting

— source democracynow.org | Apr 07, 2020

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Amazon admits some drivers have to ‘pee in bottles’

E-commerce giant Amazon has apologized to a US lawmaker after falsely denying that some of its drivers are forced at times to urinate in plastic bottles. The flap started last week with a message from Mark Pocan, a Democrat from Wisconsin. “Paying workers $15/hr doesn’t make you a ‘progressive workplace’ when you union-bust & make workers urinate in water bottles,” Pocan said, in an apparent reference to Amazon’s opposition to efforts to unionize a major facility in Alabama. But several news media then cited numerous Amazon employees who said they had, in fact, been left with little choice but to use plastic bottles. And the website The Intercept said it had obtained internal documents showing Amazon executives were aware of the practice. The workers’ testimony underlined the complaints of many Amazon employees — both in its processing facilities and among its drivers — about what they say is a relentless work pace.

— source today.rtl.lu | 04.04.2021

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#classwar

Tax on Amazon’s Pandemic Profits Could Pay to Vaccinate 580 Million People Worldwide

While the average US worker pays a tax rate of 22%, Amazon’s federal tax rate last year was just 9%, despite earning a record $20 billion in US profits.

According to Oxfam calculations, if Amazon paid the current US corporate tax rate of 21% it would pay an additional $2.5 billion in taxes a year—enough to provide Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program benefits (SNAP) to 1.7 million Americans facing hunger. A 3% wealth tax on Jeff Bezos alone would generate $6 billion in revenue from his $198 billion fortune, enough to provide childcare to every child under 4 in Amazon’s home state of Washington – 440,000 children. Finally, a pandemic profits tax on Amazon would yield $11 billion in additional revenue, enough to vaccinate 580 million people around the world.

— source oxfamamerica.org | May 12, 2021

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Amazon Has Become a Prime Revolving-Door Destination in Washington

Everything about Amazon is big. It’s the second-biggest retailer in the world. Its founder, Jeff Bezos, possesses the biggest fortune in the world. And the company has developed a big revolving door in Washington through which government officials and employees whisk and land in well-paying jobs at Amazon, which has a big list of interests it seeks to protect and advance in the nation’s capital.

A Mother Jones investigation has identified at least 247 US government officials and employees—with about 150 hailing from the intelligence, cybersecurity, law enforcement, and military fields—who were hired by Amazon in the past 10 years or so. About 200 of them have been retained by the fast-growing company since the start of 2017. This list is not comprehensive and represents what is likely only a portion of federal employees who left government service for Amazon. It was compiled by searching LinkedIn and locating people who, according to their profiles, had worked in the federal government directly before moving to Amazon; it relies on information provided by the platform’s users. There are no public records that track all the US officials and employees hired by Amazon or other firms.

It is not uncommon for prominent firms to vacuum up government officials who can lobby

— source motherjones.com | David Corn, Dan Spinelli | Mar 2, 2021

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