Published: Tue, July 09, 2019
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Some Amazon workers plan Prime Day stoppage

Some Amazon workers plan Prime Day stoppage

While such strikes are common in Amazon warehouse in Europe due to the stronger union presence, it marks one of the first such strikes against the online retailer in the U.S.

Of late, warehouses in Minnesota's Twin Cities region have become an epicenter of worker activism, led by East African Muslim immigrants who organizers say compose the majority of the five facilities' staff. That's the first day of the highly touted annual sales event used to entice and keep Amazon Prime subscribers who pay an annual fee for free shipping and other benefits.

"Instead of real progress on issues like safe and reliable jobs, respecting and promoting East African workers and addressing issues like climate change, they've been facing retaliation in the workplace", he said. Amazon has declined to comment on the planned strike.

Strike organizers say workers, community supporters and elected officials will be rallying from 4 6 p.m. outside the warehouse "on Amazon's most important day of the year". "What we do know is that Amazon's median employee pay is only $28,446 - 9 percent less than the industry average and well below what constitutes a living wage in the United States". Additionally, Amazon says it provides employees with a "comprehensive benefit package including health insurance, disability insurance, retirement savings plans, and company stock". These include relaxing pressure on workers to meet quotas during Ramadan and the designation of a conference room as a prayer space.

The protest also comes after a recent episode of HBO's "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver", that spotlighted the perceived poor labor standards in its warehouses.

In an effort to show solidarity, a handful of Amazon's white collar-engineers intend to fly to Minnesota to join the demonstration, where activists will demand the company take action against climate change as well as easing quotas and making more temps permanent employees.

The allegations come from complaints filed in 2019 with the National Labor Relations Board.

US Amazon workers have not gone on strike since fall 2016, but they were ordered back to work by a judge to avoid disrupting the holiday shopping season. "Further, we believe that many of Amazon's workers are employed by temporary staffing agencies and contractors and make even less than the median Amazon employee". They don't fool around, ' he said. The second complaint alleges that Amazon deducted hours from employees' unpaid time off during another strike in March.

The fact is Amazon offers already what this outside organization is asking for.

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