What can be learned from ethnographic interviews of Amazon’s last mile delivery workers in the greater LA area about the current global economy? How can undergraduate student researchers participate in this kind of labor research? Can academic and student research build opportunities for labor organizing, and resist the precarity that dominates the economy because of companies like Amazon? What are the purposes and goals of Labor Studies?

We explore these questions and more with our guests Jake Alimahomed-Wilson and Ellen Reese, the co-editors of an important new collection entitled The Cost of Free: Shipping Amazon in the Global Economy (Pluto Press, 2020). This work explores the hegemony of Amazon on our imagination and economy, and what can be done to resist it. Jake Alimahomed-Wilson is Professor of Sociology at California State University, Long Beach, whose previous works include: Solidarity Forever? Race, Gender, and Unionism in the Ports of Southern California (Lexington Books, 2016), (co-author) Getting the Goods: Ports, Labor, and the Logistics Revolution (Cornell University Press, 2008). Ellen Reese is Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Riverside, whose previous works include: They Sat Cutback, We Say Fightback! (Russel Sage Foundation, 2011) and (co-editor) Wages of Empire: Neoliberal Policies, Repression, and Women’s Poverty (Routledge 2007).

*Click here for the KVCR segment (referenced during the show) that features an interview about the new book, The Cost of Free Shipping, with co-editors Alimahomed-Wilson and Ellen Reese.
**Click here for the NPR segment featuring an interview with journalist Lauren Gurley about Amazon’s use of Pinkertons to surveil workers — a segment in which NPR’s Ari Shapiro notes that Amazon is one of the news organization’s funders, as James alluded to on the show.