UFCW calls out Amazon’s greed-driven pursuit of cashierless grocery stores

A WORKER PUSHES A CART inside an Amazon Go Grocery store in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Following the opening of several smaller convenience-type stores using an app and cashierless technology to tally shoppers’ selections, the store is Amazon’s first full-sized cashierless grocery store. – Ted S. Warren/AP photo

The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) is speaking out against Amazon’s opening of a new cashierless grocery store in Seattle. The store uses the same technology from the company’s previous Amazon Go stores that have faced a national backlash for discriminating against low-income shoppers and threatening good jobs.

Amazon’s continued use of cashier-free technology shows one of the online retail behemoth’s main goals is to eliminate as many jobs as possible as it seeks to take over America’s $800 billion grocery industry.

Previous Amazon Go locations were akin to convenience stores, offering a variety of grab-and-go items like drinks, snacks, and sandwiches. The new store features more than 5,000 products, including dairy, packaged seafood, fresh produce, and meat, as well as baked goods, household products, and a variety of beer, wine, and liquor.

“Amazon represents a clear and present danger to millions of good jobs,” said UFCW’s International President Marc Perrone. “The brutal truth is that Amazon is focused on one thing – eliminating as many jobs as possible to enrich one multi-billionaire, Jeff Bezos.

“Despite the failure of their Amazon Go stores, it is clear that Bezos is determined to pursue a ruthless strategy that is designed to destroy millions of grocery worker jobs.”

Amazon could also be looking to scale its cashier-free technology to other retailers and chains such as movie theaters and airports, threatening many of the jobs in these industries as well.

“At a time when millions of Americans are already struggling, when most Americans are one paycheck away from disaster, what does it say that Jeff Bezos (Amazon’s CEO) wants to create stores that serve food and groceries and eliminate the jobs real people need?” Perrone asked.

“Now, more than ever, it is time for our nation’s leaders – Democrats and Republicans – to wake up and act before Amazon and Jeff Bezos do permanent damage to America’s economy and the future of work.”

UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States, representing 1.3 million professionals and their families in grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries.

“UFCW will make sure that Amazon’s ruthless business model is a 2020 election issue,” Perrone said. “Every voter – and every candidate running for office – will be made aware that they have a choice to make: support good jobs or support Amazon’s destruction of jobs.”

Unaddressed in Amazon’s cashierless business model is who will be left to buy the company’s products if the job-killing behemoth succeeds in eliminating all of the good-paying jobs? The answer may be found in the stores’ recent financial performance.

CNBC reports Amazon Go stores have failed to meet the company’s lofty predictions and, with losses still ballooning, are unlikely to deliver the $639 million in 2020 sales the company promised.

Although Amazon made a splash when it bought Whole Foods and its 500 stores in 2017, the grocery chain is the only Amazon division to report a sales slowdown during the fourth quarter.



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