A campaigner has been among many to call on Amazon to take action amid a number of viral videos showing its employees being allegedly “forced to dance”.
Rafael Shimunov, a political activist based in Queens, New York, argued in a recent Twitter thread that a number of Amazon employees had told him they “feel forced to dance” for customers.
“I put a sign asking drivers to dance,” wrote “Leah”, an Amazon customer, in a TikTok of the driver, who was widely applauded for his routine. “This guy was awesome. Anyone know him?”
Mr Shimunov argued that DJ Eli’s encounter with an Amazon customer was another incident in which a delivery driver was “forced to dance” in front of a doorbell video camera, with workers keen on attracting positive reviews.
Another worker for Amazon was seen complying with instructions in November for delivery drivers from a customer, as the Mirror reported.
That customer wrote on a sign: “Let’s Play. Stand in yellow square, look at the camera (up) and do a five – ten second *dance* for TikTok”. The woman delivery driver also went viral for her routine.
On Twitter, Mr Shimunov wrote: “I ask Amazon drivers about this trend all the time, and was told that when workers see these signs a lot of them feel forced to dance (among other humiliating requests) so that customers don’t leave bad reviews.”
“As offensive as the customer may be, the root of this issue is Amazon’s systemic abuse of workers, especially Black and brown workers,” Mr Shimunov added.
He also argued that the video trend was an extension of surveillance practices allegedly carried out by Amazon, “So if you’re upset by this, you should be because you are human”.
Another Twitter user agreed and wrote: “Companies need to stop putting so much weight on customer reviews. Many customers suck.” Others said the instructions to dance were humiliating.
Allegations that Amazon conducts surveillance of its workers came after a report from the Open Markets Institute, an advocacy group found a “tremendous imbalance of power between employers and workers [that] get exacerbated by an alarming increase in surveillance” in 2020.
Amazon was approached for comment.
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