By Eamonn Burke
The online shopping megacorp Amazon is under heavy criticism following an insensitive stunt on Juneteenth, the day that slaves in Texas were informed of their freedom.
Rather than honor this day with a paid day off, Amazon offered chicken and waffles to their employees in a Chicago warehouse yesterday. The senseless gesture was accompanied by a statement:
“We stand in solidarity honoring the black community by supporting local black businesses. We are happy to share an authentic meal crafted by Chicago’s Chicken + Waffles.”
The warehouse employees, a largely African American demographic, condemned the “celebration” as racist, and felt that it reinforced the very message that Amazon was seemingly denouncing. A spokesperson for Amazon claims that the intention was to support a local black-owned business.
“So much for supporting your Black/African American employees. Where’s the Solidarity in that?” said an employee. “We demand a paid holiday, not some damn chicken.”
This is part of a continuing criticism of Amazon for poorly treating warehouse workers and subduing their attempts to unionize. These motives were revealed in a shocking video intended for Whole Foods managers that leaked. In addition, a November petition that demanded better working conditions was signed by over 600 employees. The complaints constricted breaks, lack of transport assistance, and high risk of injury.