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Surveillance and suffering

The impact of electronic control on Amazon and Walmart warehouse workers

When productivity matters more than people

Test your knowledge: Surveillance of Amazon & Walmart Workers

A view inside the Amazon distribution and fulfillment center warehouse in Goodyear, Arizona. AP Images / Julio Cortez

How surveillance is harming Amazon and Walmart warehouse workers

Graphic: Emily Eberly

U.S. Workers' Rights

For decades, workers in the U.S. have been fighting for their rights, demanding real change, and struggling to stay afloat. Learn more about this area of Oxfam's economic justice and equal rights work.

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What does Oxfam recommend Amazon and Walmart do?

  • Commit to cease or significantly reform the use of electronic surveillance to enforce unreasonable and/or unsafe productivity demands (including but not limited to the use of so-called “Time Off Task” procedures).

  • Commit to conduct a human rights impact assessment of working conditions inside U.S. warehouses that includes a gender and racial justice lens for all issues uncovered.

  • Commit to publicly disclose the rate of worker injury claims and improve on-site medical care.

  • Commit to maintain a neutral stance on union activity by workers and respect their right to freedom of association.
Does Oxfam support unions?

Yes, Oxfam supports workers' rights to organize.

Amazon and Walmart’s persistent discouragement of unionization has meant that not one of their more than 1 million direct employees is covered by a collective bargaining agreement. As a result, all of their workers are denied access to the protections, higher pay, and decreased gender and racial pay gaps that unionization affords. We ask both companies to commit to maintaining a neutral stance on union activity by workers, and allow freedom of association for workers.

Is Oxfam recommending a boycott?

No, Oxfam is not asking you to change your shopping habits. Oxfam does not call for boycotts in our work because the impact would be generally felt by the communities for whom we are advocating.

What can I do to make a difference?

Spread the word on social, sign the petition, or join our e-community to receive updates on Oxfam's work and our campaign to hold Amazon and Walmart accountable.


  1. Research

    At Work and Under Watch

    Surveillance and suffering at Amazon and Walmart warehouses

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  2. Briefing paper

    Inequality, Made in America

    How Corporate America is Fueling our Inequality Crisis

    Oxfam Media Brief_Inequality Made in America-thumbnail-556x720
  3. Briefing paper

    Business at an Inhuman Scale

    How America's biggest retailers are driving its economic inequality crisis

    Amazon-Walmart Briefing Note-Jan 2024-thumbnail Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube Google+