On Thursday, a coalition of some of America's largest unions representing millions of workers filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to address the exploitation of the Covid-19 pandemic by Amazon.
According to the complaint, the company is using its pandemic Covid-19 to further expand its market dominance.
"We are very concerned about her behavior Amazon during the unprecedented crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic ", the complaint states.
"THE Amazon exploits the financial despair and turmoil caused by COVID to engage in new or intensive behavior that further strengthens its market power and dominance. ”
OR complaint presents a series of arguments arguing that its dominant position Amazon in e-commerce has accelerated the collapse of physical retail, and allowed it to abuse its market power to undermine competitors, pressure suppliers, exploit American workers without fear of retaliation. The company is invading new markets and behaving anti-competitively.
For years, critics have been warning about Amazon, which has a very aggressive tactics against trade unions, and has escaped all regulatory control in part because the current antitrust framework is outdated and insufficient to handle the company's absolute scope of power.
The complaint warns that her ability Amazon is to use prices as a weapon (either by suppressing prices by offering cheaper products at levels unsustainable to competitors or by changing them using data it collects from consumers) to prevent competitors from growing and to not lose customers.
The unions claim that sellers are increasingly trapped in Amazon, a platform that he has no problem impose taxes on sellers to offset taxes imposed by various governments. Vendors using the platform are at the mercy of unilateral decision-making, but they can not leave.
For example, in April, a research of ProPublica found that its pricing algorithm Amazon further traps sellers by increasing the "suggested" stock levels that third-party sellers should have in Amazon to avoid downgrading sales results. Such a tactic forces suppliers to give priority to Amazon compared to other retailers, even if they could have better deals for fear of losing revenue.
The complaint cites another example, the "most-favored nation" clauses - which prohibit sellers from selling their products at lower prices on competing platforms or even on their own websites.
Then the Amazon can combine this clause with the dominance of the cloud computing to “deny competing platforms even developers themselves the opportunity to offer lower prices to smaller groups of consumers than those who buy their products from AWS Marketplace. "
The trade union coalition also mentions its concerns about work due to the fact that the Amazon directly employs "22% of the total national labor market." It is one of the largest direct employers in the United States with a direct workforce of approximately 400.000 people and has employed approximately 175.000 workers during the pandemic, 125.000 of whom are permanent employees. The coalition says its position Amazon as the big employer (sometimes the only big employer in the cities) allows it to greatly reduce employee wages.
Earlier this year, before the lockdown went into effect, Bank of America estimated that its share Amazon in the US e-commerce market reached 44%. The second place, at 7%, was Walmart. Retail trade suffered huge losses in the spring and many companies may never recover, while online sales soared.
"THE Amazon "It represents a clear and present threat to American workers and our economy." UFCW International Marc Perrone.
"The company not only refused to recognize the full impact of COVID-19 on its employees, but took advantage of this pandemic to increase its market dominance as well as its power over employees in all its distribution centers."