Amazon's mushrooming power has met an unlikely foe: Bessemer, Alabama

Though Amazon is a sprawling international conglomerate, with more than a million employees and significant operations in areas ranging from technology to retail to food, it is possible to understand its essence by grasping a few key facts. Its boss is one of the richest men in the world. It exercises unparalleled influence over the consumer economy. And it has a long and well-documented history of abusing virtually every category of human it employs, from office workers to warehouse workers to customer service agents. Most recently, the company agreed to pay a $62m fine for stealing tips from its delivery drivers, an awful crime that nevertheless constituted a fairly average week in the annals of Amazon workplace horror stories.

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