Grouped within the organization Gen-Z for Change, 70 social network accounts put pressure on Jeff Bezos’ company to comply with commitments in favor of its employees.
Who would’ve believed that ? We thought famous influencers on social networks had no moral conscience (apart from a few ecological commitments), but now a swarm of tiktokeurs – 70 in total – are committed to the rights of employees of Amazon, the second largest private employer of UNITED STATES. These influencers, born in the early 2000s and mostly Americans, grouped together in an organization called Gen-Z for Change, have more than 51 million subscribers and are therefore particularly influential with young people.
“More and more viral messages”
The “People Over Prime” campaign (“people before Prime”, named after Amazon’s loyalty program) wants to alert TikTok users to the working conditions of employees of the company of Jeff Bezos, who has just having a union imposed on it, the first in its history: the Amazon Labor Union. Committed influencers refuse to promote products marketed by the platform if it does not meet a certain number of requirements. In a letter addressed to the management of the company on August 16, they ask in particular that the minimum wage be set at 30 dollars per hour (about 30 euros), that two paid breaks of thirty minutes and a lunch break of one hour be sanctuary, and the“Complete halt to all union busting tactics used by Amazon in the past.”
According to washington post, the campaign would not be led by the Amazon Labor Union, which can only welcome the commitment of the young generation to the cause of the workers. The union itself has used social media extensively to campaign and put pressure on the management of the multinational. A French specialist in social networks, who prefers to remain anonymous, notes with Release that certain social or political subjects are of particular interest to users of networks such as Instagram or TikTok: “The cause of the Uyghurs has been widely relayed. The war in Ukraine has generated a lot of movement, even LinkedIn, which is not known for its commitment. NGOs are beginning to professionalize on social networks, they are helping to make messages more and more viral. The volunteers thus convey messages. This is called micro influence: whistleblowers or associations relay information on their networks and can contact influencers who will in turn relay them. It looks like a spider’s web and it can get quite big, like the fashion brand Sézane, which had been accused of cultural appropriation [en janvier] by a Mexican influencer and had to apologize. Like Shein more recently, Amazon launched its Amazon Influencer Program in 2017 to retain influencers, whom it proposes to remunerate in exchange for the recommendation of one of its products and which the Gen-Z for Change movement has undermined. .
Amazon management assures that “the health, safety and well-being of [ses] employees are [sa] top priority”. Asked by the American daily about the movement’s requests, Amazon spokesperson Paul Flaningan said he was concerned about the well-being of his employees: “We are committed to giving our employees the resources they need to be successful in creating time to have regular breaks and a comfortable work pace, and to working directly with anyone who needs extra support to achieve her goals. We also work closely with health and safety experts and scientists, performing thousands of safety inspections every day in our buildings.”
What do these statements matter, Emily Rayna Shaw, 24, whose TikTok account is followed by 5.4 million people, has decided, like several dozen of her comrades, to stop collaborating with Amazon: “Their method of offering big bucks to influencers to work with while refusing to pay their behind-the-scenes employees is extremely wrong. I want to be able to feel free to recommend Amazon products to my community when they are trusted, but I can’t do that if I don’t know if they’re treating their employees fairly,” she explained to washington post.