An Author Changed the Cover of His Book on Amazon Into a Message Urging Amazon Workers to Unionize
Mike Monteiro believes Amazon workers should unionize. Last week, the self-published author realized he could get Amazon to print and distribute unionization materials to its own workers -- all he had to do was print them on the front of his book.
Monteiro's book, Ruined by Design, is for sale on Amazon, which provides a platform for authors to easily self-publish books by printing as many copies as users order online.
Every time you buy my book from Amazon, a warehouse worker has to pull it off the shelf. From now on, this is what that worker will see. At least until Amazon shitcans the whole thing. Hurry up. https://t.co/l5jxdz1azW pic.twitter.com/DqWZT5MI9q— Mike Monteiro (@monteiro) October 4, 2019
After first publishing the book in March, Monteiro realized he could change his book cover by uploading a new PDF, he told The Verge.
"ATTENTION AMAZON WORKERS: You have the right to decent working conditions. You have the right to bargain collectively. You have the right to form a union," the new message on the book's cover reads, followed by a link to the AFL-CIO's site.
Monteiro suspects that Amazon will take action to remove the cover soon. However, the cover had to be approved by an Amazon quality assurance check before being finalized, he told The Verge.
Amazon workers have repeatedly protested the working conditions in the company's shipping warehouses, where workers have reportedly been pushed to forego bathroom breaks and work to the point of exhaustion. Employees across the globe protested Amazon's refusal to recognize unionization efforts during Prime Day this summer.
The effectiveness of Monteiro's strategy, however, remains to be seen. Aside from the question of how many people will actually order the book, it's been reported that Amazon warehouse workers typically spend around a minute total pulling and packaging an order before moving onto the next one.
In a statement to Business Insider, an Amazon spokesperson defended the company's treatment of its workers, touting its $15/hour minimum wage and benefits for employees, saying that these offerings amount to what unions typically request.
"We encourage anyone to compare our overall pay, benefits, and workplace environment to other retailers and major employers in the community and across the country. For us, it will always be about providing a great employment experience through a direct connection with our employees and working together as a team to provide a world-class customer experience, and respecting rights to choose a union," the spokesperson said.