There were several other, less-positive items concerning Amazon that made the news yesterday:
• The Los Angeles Times reports that "Amazon will pay more than $61.7 million to Flex drivers from whom it withheld the full amount of customer tips to settle a Federal Trade Commission investigation.
"The settlement comes nearly two years after the Los Angeles Times first exposed that Amazon was dipping into customer tips to cover the base pay guaranteed to Flex drivers, who deliver Amazon Fresh, Prime Now and other orders.
"The money will reimburse Flex drivers whose tips Amazon withheld over the last 2½ years, according to the FTC."
• Reuters reports that Amazon-owned Whole Foods "must face a proposed class-action lawsuit claiming it deceived shoppers about the contents of its 365 Organic Honey Graham Crackers."
According to the story, "U.S. District Judge Gregory Woods said Chandra Campbell plausibly alleged that the words 'Honey' and 'Graham' on the box misled reasonable consumers into thinking that the crackers contained more healthy whole grain flour than non-whole grain flour, and that honey rather than sugar was the main sweetener."
The judge said that the plaintiffs could pursue the case under consumer protection laws, though he "dismissed fraud and negligence claims."
Amazon has been arguing that "Campbell was being 'unreasonably literal,' and could have checked the ingredient list on the back if she were unsure."
• From the Washington Post:
"Some workers in Amazon’s Bessemer, Ala., warehouse complain that the company’s aggressive performance expectations leave them little time to take bathroom breaks.
"When they do get there, they face messaging from Amazon pressing its case against unionization, imploring them to vote against it when mail-in balloting begins Feb. 8.
"'Where will your dues go?' reads a flier posted on the door inside a bathroom stall.
"'They got right in your face when you’re using the stall,' said Darryl Richardson, a worker at the warehouse who supports the union. Another pro-union worker who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of retribution said of Amazon’s toilet reading: 'I feel like I’m getting harassed'."
The Post writes that "the stakes couldn’t be higher for Amazon, which is fighting the biggest labor battle in its history on U.S. soil. Next Monday, the National Labor Relations Board will mail ballots to 5,805 workers at the facility near Birmingham, who will then have seven weeks to decide whether they want the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union to represent them. If they vote yes, they would be the first Amazon warehouse in the United States to unionize.
"What’s more, a union victory could spark a wave of organizing campaigns among the 400,000 operations staff at the hundreds of other Amazon warehouses and delivery sites that dot the nation."