Thousands of Amazon Warehouse Employees Have Gone on Strike to Protest Low Pay and Poor Working Conditions!
On Wednesday, around 60 Amazon warehouse workers staged a walkout in protest of poor pay and unjust working conditions, calling for a $3 raise and 20-minute work breaks.
The walkout, which was reported by an NBC station, took place in three different warehouses in Queens, New York, and Upper Marlborough, Maryland.
The network said that Ellie Pfeffer, one of the demonstration’s organizers, informed the outlet that five individuals from her nine-member crew walked out simultaneously. As part of an organization called Amazonians United, a network of Amazon warehouse and delivery employees around the country who are pushing to reform the company’s working standards, Pfeffer works in the company’s distribution center in New York City.
As stated by the organization, Amazon’s “management has sought to illegally intimidate and remove participants in collective activities from its warehouses” rather than “responding in good faith” in the months since the matter was brought to their attention.
Following a horrific hurricane that tore through an Amazon warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, killing six Amazon employees, employees from throughout the East Coast signed a petition with seven specific demands to improve worker welfare. And it looks that the petition has had some success.
The American Prospect reported that one Amazon employee said that the company was “playing a game of surrendering to some things, but won’t explain why.”
Another claimed that management informed them that the company’s concessions “had nothing to do with your petition in the first place. We have been thinking about these issues for some months.”
Workers in Amazon’s fulfillment centers get a starting wage of $15 per hour. Pfeffer, on the other hand, claims that she and her coworkers are only getting paid 75 cents more per hour than that. During the epidemic, Amazon apparently provided two 20-minute breaks for employees, but those breaks were shortened in 15-minute increments after that.
NBC station said that she worked “very long days” and “late into the evenings.” “Our breaks are essentially the only opportunity we get to take a seat and stretch our muscles. Amazon doesn’t give a damn about those five minutes of your time. However, they are extremely important for the health of our muscles and our mental well-being.”
When the Prospect inquired about the walkout, an Amazon spokeswoman responded as follows: “We are pleased to provide competitive wages, excellent benefits, and the chance for all employees to further their careers inside the firm. While there are several established methods for ensuring that we hear the perspectives of our workers within our organization, we also recognize the right of some individuals to express their ideas outside of the organization.”
Amazon was successful in putting down an extraordinary, two-month-long union effort launched by warehouse employees in Bessemer, Alabama, in April of last year. The corporation was heavily condemned at the time for adopting a variety of union-busting practices, many of which were considered to be particularly coercive in their nature.
Despite this, the labor movement has not completely lost its momentum. Thousands of Amazon employees in Staten Island, New York, are scheduled to vote in an official union election this month, which will take place between March 25 and March 30. In addition, warehouse workers in Bessemer are preparing a vote via mail around the same time period.