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★ Wage & Wages

138,186.  Jeff Bezos’ resignation is a distraction – there is a bigger Amazon story we need to talk about: The Founder of Amazon stepped down yesterday, shortly before the United States Federal Trade Commission announced that it was fining his company $61.7m:

 

When a magician performs a trick, audiences rarely look where they need to.  Sleight of hand and charming patter is used to divert our attention away from what is actually happening.  Misdirection comes in many forms.  Yesterday, it involved one of the richest men in the world. Jeff Bezos the founder of Amazon, stepped down from his CEO position, shortly before the United States Federal Trade Commission announced that it was fining Amazon $61.7m, so the shopping giant could settle charges that it withheld delivery drivers’ tips paid by customers. 

 

Jeff Bezos accumulated more than $215m a day in 2019.  As you are reading this article, his wealth has likely increased nearly four times the amount of the fine his company was issued for withholding payments from its employees.

 

The full announcement from the FTC is astounding.  It states that Amazon regularly advertised that drivers participating in the Flex program would be paid between $18 and $25 per hour, and that drivers would receive all of their tips.  That is not what happened.

 

Instead, the FTC alleges that Amazon put its workers on a lower rate and used customer tips to make up the difference.  Amazon allegedly took steps to mislead drivers about this, made the change, and then lied about it. 

 

‘Rather than passing along 100 per cent of customers’ tips to drivers, as it had promised to do, Amazon used the money itself,’ said Daniel Kaufman, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

 

The FTC also alleges that Amazon only stopped its behaviour, which happened over a two and a half year period, when it became aware of the regulator’s investigation.  (Corporation & Wages)  The Independent online article 3 February 2021 Adam Smith

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