By Javier Hsu, age 11
Some workers wanted more than a New Year’s resolution this year. They wanted better working conditions at their job. In January 2023, New York City nurses and Amazon workers in the United Kingdom went on strike, reflecting a general rising dissatisfaction felt by many employees of powerful companies.
On Jan. 9, more than 7,000 Mount Sinai and Montefiore nurses went on strike in New York City because they were not able to reach an agreement over salary increases and improved staffing levels. “Bosses have pushed us to strike by refusing to seriously consider our proposals to address the desperate crisis of unsafe staffing that harms our patients,” the New York State Nurses Association announced in a tweet. The nurses said that their hospitals had failed to hire and retain enough nurses, which led to a decline in patient care. After spending three days striking, an agreement was reached between the nurses and their employers, securing improved staffing levels and a 5-7% salary increase.
During the same month, in Coventry, U.K., Amazon warehouse workers went on strike. The staff said that they were not happy with the below-inflation pay, long shifts with short breaks and unsafe conditions. This was the first strike by Amazon workers in the U.K., which followed a slew of Amazon strikes in over 30 countries. This is a worrying trend, considering Amazon employs around 1.6 million people around the world. Large-scale companies have the power to affect millions of people, which is why it is important to hold them accountable for how they treat their employees.
Make Amazon Pay, a community of disgruntled Amazon workers and activists, has been pushing for change. “The pandemic has exposed how Amazon places profits ahead of workers, society, and our planet,” they said in a statement. Despite the strikes and controversy surrounding the company, the owner Jeff Bezos became the first person in history to have a net worth of over $200 billion in 2020.