New research shows huge wage losses for NY workers alongside growth of Amazon
New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition releases report detailing why the 21st Century Antitrust Act is critical for New York’s workers
Today, the New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition released a report that reveals a striking correlation between declining wages within the warehouse and delivery industry and the growth of Amazon’s dominance in New York State. Average annual pay for warehouse workers has fallen by more than $6,000 as Amazon expanded between 2010 and 2020. For delivery drivers, the drop was nearly $5,000.
The report’s findings support growing research that as corporate consolidation increases, workers are harmed through wage cuts, degrading work conditions, wage theft, or labor law violations. New York legislators can rein in corporate power and give workers vital new protections and capacity to challenge abusive corporations by passing the 21st Century Antitrust Act (S933A/A1812A). The legislation would center workers within antitrust law by defining labor market dominance as worthy of antitrust oversight and prohibiting abusive practices that prevent workers from finding a better job or pushing for better working conditions. New York would be the first state to so explicitly put labor protections into its antitrust law.
“New Yorkers have felt the pernicious impacts of out of control corporate power in their paychecks for years and this report demonstrates how big players like Amazon drive down wages. We need to pass my 21st Century Antitrust Act to protect workers across this state from losing their paychecks to more corporate greed,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris, author of the 21st Century Antitrust Act.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz said, “Throughout the history of New York, our greatest eras of progress have been when labor and small businesses are on the same page about how to maintain a fair, equitable economy for all. We need labor, business, and consumers to come together so that we can update our antitrust laws for the first time in more than a century. We must share the fundamental goal of ensuring that businesses, both large and small, are not squeezed out by the mega multinational corporations, particularly in the tech sector, and that way consumers and labor prosper at the same time.”
“At Amazon it’s profit over people, every time,” said Rina Cummings, a worker at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse on Staten Island. “As workers, we sign our lives away and give up our rights for minimal raises every three years. But wages keep going down—they’re starting people with lower wages now than when I started three years ago, while costs are much higher. The 21st Century Antitrust Act would prevent Amazon from imposing non-compete agreements that trap us in poor conditions, and give workers across the state a voice on the job.”
“This used to be a job where you earned a middle-class wage and could spend your evenings and weekends with your family. Amazon is changing that,” said Anthony Rosario, Teamsters Local 804 member at UPS. “When a corporation grows this powerful, they can set wages and working conditions for the entire industry.”
“As this report shows, workers across New York State are harmed by dominant corporations and their ability to degrade pay and working conditions across labor markets. But antitrust law and precedent have been hollowed out by courts, leaving antitrust enforcers and workers unable to adequately respond to the tactics of these dominant firms,” said Pat Garofalo, director of state and local policy at the American Economic Liberties Project. “New York needs to adopt the 21st Century Antitrust Act in order to put workers back at the heart of antitrust law—where they belong.”
“These numbers prove what we already know: Amazon, Big Tech, and other mega corporations are increasing their profits while recklessly diminishing wages and degrading working conditions. New Yorkers need the 21st Century Antitrust Act now, to empower workers and hold corporations accountable when enough is enough,” said Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director of ALIGN NY, leader of the New Yorkers for a Fair Economy coalition.
“New York’s existing antitrust laws are incapable of protecting workers from the growing concentration of corporate power. You only have to look at Amazon and its impact on workers and communities to know that we have a crisis on our hands. Now is the time to reform New York’s antitrust laws to create a level playing field and to protect good union jobs before it is too late,” Stuart Appelbaum, President RWDSU.
About New Yorkers for a Fair Economy
New Yorkers for a Fair Economy (NYFE) is a coalition of labor organizations, small businesses, and immigrant and community organizations uniting to safeguard our communities from abusive practices of big corporations and achieve an economy that works for all New Yorkers. This coalition includes the frontline workers who care and provide for our communities, the small businesses that provide essential services that we need, the community organizations that protect the environment and the dignity of Black, brown, immigrant and gender-oppressed communities that make up our diverse state. NYFE is led by ALIGN (Alliance for a Greater New York) and includes labor unions Teamsters Joint Council 16, Retail Wholesale, and Department Store Union, UAW Region 9A; community groups New York Communities for Change, Make the Road New York, and Restaurant Opportunities Center New York; and national research and advocacy organizations Institute for Local Self Reliance, American Economic Liberties Project, and Strategic Organizing Center.