PRESS RELEASE: Athena Coalition Statement on FTC Announcement of Amazon Lawsuit
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Contact: Jane Chung, firstname.lastname@example.org
Athena Coalition Statement on FTC Announcement of Amazon Lawsuit
“Amazon demonstrates the dangers of modern tech platform monopolies. We can and should break up Amazon. Amazon has a long history of combining and utilizing its many businesses together as an integrated whole to leverage its power against workers, businesses, and ultimately all of us. When a single corporation has this much power, it will always behave as a bully — it will pick winners and losers, exploit workers, raise prices on consumers, and pollute our planet. Amazon cannot be allowed to write the rules in its own favor and break the law with impunity.
If successful, the FTC’s suit will free sellers to do business with whom they choose, rather than being forced to work with Amazon or offer them the best terms. The suit will also put more money back in the pockets of entrepreneurs and small businesses by eliminating Amazon’s inescapable tollbooth it subjects sellers to. It will put money back in the pockets of everyday people who will be able to enjoy higher quality, more choice, and better prices when they shop online. The suit will also restrict Amazon’s ability to force sellers to use its notoriously dangerous and exploitative warehousing and logistics.
Amazon should never have been allowed to use its control over its retail platform to track, surveil, and copy successful products to sell under one of its own product lines, or to exclude businesses from its “Buy Box” unless the sellers pay exorbitant fees for Fulfilled by Amazon and advertising placement. It is now the FTC’s responsibility to break up monopolies like Amazon that have been allowed to consolidate power and wield that power to cheat everyone else.
As we have seen with recent actions by the FTC, federal and Washington State OSHA, and the NLRB, Amazon’s business model had previously depended on our public agencies looking the other way. Together, these bold actions by our public agencies show that we have the power and ability to ensure our economy works for everyone, not just corporate billionaires. We look forward to further action from these agencies and from members of Congress.
Because of Amazon’s numerous interconnected abuses, we need more action from the government to do this. We demand the FTC and other agencies like the DOJ, NLRB, OSHA, and the SEC utilize their full authority to curb Amazon’s power — and that Congress take action to conduct oversight, investigate, and legislate in the interest of the public good and the many communities impacted by consolidated corporate power, rather than siding with Amazon.”
Members of the Athena Coalition also provided comment:
Stacy Mitchell, Executive Director of Institute for Local Self-Reliance and founding member of the Athena Coalition:
“Today’s action to break Amazon’s monopoly control over online commerce is great news for Americans. For too long Amazon has been allowed to maintain a stranglehold on the online market. It’s used its power to thwart competition, bleed small businesses dry, exploit workers, and take advantage of consumers. At the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, we’ve long warned of the threat Amazon’s monopoly poses. Today, we applaud the FTC and its dedicated and valiant staff for taking action to end Amazon’s monopolization. The filing of this lawsuit is a victory for freedom and self-governance; it marks a crucial rekindling of public authority to check unaccountable private power.”
Lauren Jacobs, Executive Director of PowerSwitch Action and founding member of the Athena Coalition:
“We applaud the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys general for taking this step to stop Amazon’s dangerous consolidation of power. For far too long, Amazon has abused working people, harmed Black and brown communities, and undermined our democracy.
“The human impact of Amazon’s outsized power cannot be ignored: Amazon forces warehouse workers and drivers to work at dangerous speeds in deadly conditions; it uses its market dominance to squeeze small businesses; it has partnered with the police and military to build and expand a surveillance empire; it pollutes the air in communities of color; and when small businesses, workers, and communities have spoken out, Amazon has tried to bully and punish them.
“Today we’re seeing our public agencies serving the public good by listening to workers, organizers, and communities of color. This lawsuit is a step toward reining in Amazon’s power to make sure we have good jobs, thriving communities, and a healthy planet.”
Sheheryar Kaoosji, Executive Director of Warehouse Worker Resource Center and founding member of the Athena Coalition:
“Today’s action by the Federal Trade Commission shows that we have the power to stop Amazon. For too long, Amazon has gamed the system to build its empire: avoiding taxes, polluting communities of color with congestion, emissions and truck traffic, creating unsafe working conditions for warehouse workers and drivers, and keeping workplace standards like pay low.
“Amazon accumulates money and power by taking advantage of workers and small businesses. By taking action to stop Amazon’s illegal power grabs, workers and communities will have a fighting chance to ensure they can have good jobs and clean communities.”
Chanda Causer, Executive Director of Main Street Alliance:
“Amazon, and other large corporations, thrive when we prioritize quick access over the long-term impacts. And while corporations like Amazon thrive, rural and marginalized communities bear the economic, environmental, and political impacts of corporate profiteering.
“Small businesses face a myriad of challenges on their journey like barriers to capital access and ensuring workers have basic benefits like paid family and medical leave. These challenges coupled with the monopoly power of Amazon make it difficult for small businesses to survive and thrive in today’s economy. As we continue to fight corporate monopolies, the actions taken by the Federal Trade Commission is one step towards economic justice for small businesses across the country and for the nation’s most underserved communities.”
Barry Lynn, Executive Director of Open Markets Institute and founding member of the Athena coalition:
“All of us at Open Markets applaud this clear and strong action to protect American workers, communities, and democracy from Amazon’s predatory monopoly. Amazon has amassed so much power and control that it is able to destroy its competition, set prices across the marketplace, and drive down wages and standards for working people. The FTC was created for this very purpose: to set rules of commerce to protect open and democratic markets. It is vital that the FTC’s commissioners use all the powers of the agency to their fullest to address this crisis.”
Myaisha Hayes, Campaigns Director of Media Justice:
“Today’s announcement by the Federal Trade Commission should be a wake up call that we have the power to determine our future. Tech corporations like Amazon want us to imagine their future is inevitable, but we reject their totalizing systems of control. By partnering with police and building the largest private surveillance network in the country, Amazon has shown us the future it imagines: pervasive and unrestrained surveillance-powered profiling of activists, Black communities, and immigrants.
“The FTC has taken an important step to reduce Amazon’s hold over all of us. Restraining Amazon’s power and control today lays the groundwork for us to advance our demand that Amazon’s tech not be used to police and criminalize communities of color around the world.”
Bree Carlson, Co-Executive Director of Action Center on Race and the Economy and founding member of the Athena Coalition:
“Today’s action by the Federal Trade Commission is chipping away at the outsized power and control Amazon profits exert everyday around the world. Amazon’s extractive power and control pollute Communities of Color, injure and churn through warehouse workers and drivers, fund fascist politicians, and develops surveillance tech that expands the policing and criminalization of our communities. Amazon retaliates against anyone who speaks out against its racist agenda to dominate and colonize markets everywhere.
“In order to address the threat of Amazon, we must reimagine our economy and work to transform the current system that actively enables and incentivizes Amazon’s exploitation of Communities of Color for profit into an economy that makes the wellbeing of people the bottom line. Today’s actions demonstrate that the choice is in our hands — we have the power to stop corporations from impeding on our freedoms and rights and to build an economy that works for all of us.”
The Athena coalition is made up of 50+ organizations working together to break the dangerous stranglehold of Amazon over our democracy, economy, and planet.