business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  Bloomberg reports that "two institutional investors are pushing the commerce giant to conduct an audit on racism and diversity. Another shareholder wants Amazon to name a worker to its board.

"The New York State Common Retirement Fund and Vermont State Treasurers Office co-filed a shareholder resolution calling on the company to assess its impact on civil rights, racial equity, diversity and inclusion. They suggest Amazon solicit input from employees and civil-rights groups for the report and post it on the company website."

The story notes that "America’s second-largest employer has been criticized for its treatment of workers even as the wealth of Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos has surged. The New York retirement fund and Vermont treasurer’s office cited alleged discrimination of the company’s Black and Latino workers, their low wages and exposure to dangerous working conditions, including COVID-19, as well as the air pollution from distribution facilities located in minority neighborhoods."

•  CNBC reports that "Amazon workers at an Alabama warehouse are moving closer to holding a unionization vote, laying the groundwork to establish the first-ever labor union representation at a U.S. Amazon facility. 

"Workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Ala., located outside Birmingham, notified the National Labor Relations Board last month that they planned to hold an election to create a bargaining unit represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. The NLRB on Thursday said it found 'sufficient showing' to allow for a vote, rejecting Amazon’s claims that the union hadn’t drummed up enough support. 

"At a hearing on Friday, Amazon and the union continued to disagree over the size of the potential bargaining unit and what employees should be eligible to vote. The hearing is also meant to iron out details such as when a union vote will happen and how it will take place. It’s possible the hearing could take several days to resolve."

•  The New York Post reports that "an Amazon delivery man was in custody early Saturday after allegedly stabbing another driver in a brawl over a parking spot in Brooklyn, police said.

"Lancelot Forrester, 26, of Queens, has been charged with felony assault and criminal possession of a weapon for the knife, police said.

"His victim, a 47-year-old man, is hospitalized in stable condition with a stab wound to his upper back, police said.

"The brawl happened just after 6 p.m. on Friday at the intersection of Ainslie Street and Bushwick Avenue in East Williamsburg.

"Forrester had just returned to his delivery vehicle when he got into an argument with the driver of another vehicle who was attempting to park, police said.

"After some shouting, both men left their vehicles and a small crowd gathered; Forrester is maintaining that someone in the crowd hit him in the head with a baseball bat prior to the stabbing, police said.  Forrester was taken to the hospital for abrasions to his head."

Not to make light of this - such occurrences surely are not good for Amazon's image - but it may tell us more about Queens and Brooklyn.  Anyone who has seen a Scorsese or Coppola movie cannot possibly be surprised by this.

I'm sure that after the incident, somebody said, "Leave the gun.  Take the case of cannolis (sold to Prime members at a 45 percent discount)."