IMPACT

Cyber Monday Boycotted By Advocacy Groups Due To Warehouse 'Sweatshop-Like Working Conditions'

11/26/2012 10:33 am ET | Updated Nov 26, 2012
AP

Not everyone is a fan of holiday deals.

While shoppers have prepped their PayPal accounts and browser bookmarks for Cyber Monday, activist groups are planning to boycott the major online sales, ABC reports.

The labor advocacy group, Jobs with Justice and American Rights at Work, launched an anti-Cyber Monday campaign and is asking consumers to boycott it because of the “dangerous, sweatshop-like working conditions" warehouse workers face to fulfill the surplus of online orders, Sarita Gupta, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement to ABC.

Cyber Monday sales are expected to reach $2 billion, an 18 percent jump from last year, according to market research performed by Adobe. Jobs with Justice and American Rights at Work argues to meet such a demand, warehouse workers are subjected to unsafe practices, including “marathon walking,” “extreme temperatures” and “physical injuries.”

Elmer Goris experienced such oppressive conditions firsthand, even without the demands of holiday orders. In 2011, he spent a year working in Amazon.com's Lehigh Valley warehouse where, on hot days, he witnessed a co-workers faint and paramedics bring workers out in wheelchairs and stretchers, according to the Morning Call.

"I never felt like passing out in a warehouse and I never felt treated like a piece of crap in any other warehouse but this one," Goris told mccall.com. "They can do that because there aren't any jobs in the area."

The Jobs with Justice and American Rights at Work campaign was inspired by recent Wal-Mart employee strikes, according to ABC. On Nov. 15 more than 30 Wal-Mart store employees walked out, protesting low wages, rising health care premiums, and alleged retaliation from management, according to Businessweek. By Black Friday, union-backed group OUR Walmart said that it held an estimated 1,000 protests in 46 states, according to the New York Times.

The world’s largest retail trade association, The National Retail Federation, says measures are in place to protect warehouse workers.

Kathleen Grannis, a spokeswoman for the association, told ABC that “retailers monitor working conditions both in stores and in their warehouses very closely, abide by the law and take employee relations very seriously. Not just during the holidays, but every day.”

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