Amazon is ridiculed for trying to motivate Easter Sunday workers with a raffle to win water and a bag of chips

April 19, 2022, 12:03 PM UTC
Jeff Bezos
Amazon’s penny-ante raffle garnered a strong Internet response and heightened anger toward Jeff Bezos’s anti-union stance.
Michael M. Santiago—Getty Images

Amazon workers arriving at one company warehouse on Easter Sunday were greeted with a cheerful message from management.

As a holiday incentive, there would be a contest, and a raffle. Those who picked products above a certain speed would be entered into a draw to win a goody bag.

“Thank you all for coming in on Easter Sunday!” the note said. “Good Luck everyone and THANK YOU!!!”

The grand prize? Water or soda plus a candy bar or bag of chips, worth roughly $2. An amount that when compared to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s hourly haul generated a wave of ridicule from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and many others across social media.

Salary disparity

Bezos, the second-richest man on earth after Elon Musk, has a net worth of $177 billion as calculated by the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The Amazon founder’s net worth increased by $8,961,187 a day—roughly 315 times Amazon’s $28,466 median annual worker pay—according to a 2019 report by Business Insider.

Each minute that technically netted him $152,000, more than three times what the median U.S. worker makes in a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Calls for union grow stronger

The raffle garnered a strong Internet response and heightened anger toward Amazon’s anti-union behavior.

Sen. Bernie Sanders called out Amazon’s “corporate greed” and mentioned Bezos’s $500 million yacht and $175 million Beverly Hills estate. He left out Bezos’s $16 million apartment on New York’s Fifth Avenue, however, as well as his four condos overlooking Central Park in the same city, his 10-bedroom house in Washington, D.C., and the 30,000-acre ranch he owns in Texas.

Dan Price, the founder of credit card processing company Gravity Payments who famously raised the minimum salary for employees at his company to $70,000 and lowered his own wage from $1.1 million to the same amount, also called out Amazon’s work practices.

For his part, author and journalist Brian Merchant sarcastically challenged Amazon’s fierce attempts to shut down any unionization at the company.

Amazon workers at a New York warehouse voted on April 1 to join the independent Amazon Labor Union (ALU), a major milestone that could force the retail tech giant to become more accountable for workplace injuries and other employee complaints. Calls for unionization have been growing across the U.S., where Amazon is the second-largest employer.

Amazon has poured resources into fighting unionization efforts, however, regarding unions as an obstacle to business flexibility and warehouse efficiency. After the New York warehouse unionization vote, Amazon said it was disappointed in the outcome. “We believe having a direct relationship with the company is best for our employees,” wrote Amazon in a statement about the results, adding, “We’re evaluating our options, including filing objections based on the inappropriate and undue influence by the NLRB that we and others (including the National Retail Federation and U.S. Chamber of Commerce) witnessed in this election.”

On May 2, a second Amazon facility in New York—the LBJ5 sortation center on Staten Island—will hold a union election over joining the ALU.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story indicated Jeff Bezos earned $8,961,187 a day. The article has been updated to reflect this is the change to his net worth, not his salary.

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