A coalition of some of the largest labor unions — including the International Brotherhood of Teamsters — has officially petitioned the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate Amazon for anti-competitive practices, according to The New York Times.
The 28-page petition, filed Thursday (Feb. 27), asks the FTC to study Amazon’s impact on the economy. It also asks if the eCommerce giant’s “sprawling empire” has an unfair advantage in the marketplace. The unions represent over 5 million American workers.
“We wanted to demonstrate that there is a real desire to see them take this on,” said Michael Zucker, director of Change to Win, a federation of labor unions that led the effort.
The petition includes numerous concerns that were previously reported in the press and is “just be a starting point,” unions said.
“You could just say to the FTC, ‘Look into this company,’” Zucker said. “The reason why we laid out a detailed case for why was because we were trying to convince the FTC in the request that they look at the company in all of its manifestations and all of its systems.”
Amazon has pointed to the company’s creation of some 500,000 domestic jobs for people of all skills and education levels.
Jay Carney, head of Amazon’s communications and policy team, said in an Op-Ed published in the Times in February that Amazon used its scale for good.
“Because Amazon is a large company with hundreds of thousands of employees, as well as contractual relationships with hundreds of thousands of other businesses of all sizes, what we do can generate positive ripple effects across the country,” he wrote.
Carney pointed to the company’s $15 an hour minimum wage and how it had pushed other employers toward pay increases. He also said, “in keeping with what political leaders say they want to see from companies, Amazon has plowed $270 billion into the domestic economy since 2010.”
Last year, some liberal groups against Amazon’s negative impact on workers formed Athena, a coalition to coordinate company criticism. Walmart is among rivals that have reportedly funded research about Amazon’s potential negative impacts.
Amazon has also been a subject up for discussion by elected officials and candidates vying to be the Democratic nominee for president.
In February, Walmart announced that it was working on a new paid subscription program to compete with Amazon Prime.