Amazon warehouse staff in Minnesota are hanging during one of the company’s most extensive sales days of the year. They want the company to ease productivity quotas, convert extra momentary employees to Amazon employees, and do more to deal with on-the-job accidents.
Workers in Shakopee, Minnesota, which is about 50 kilometres away southwest of Minneapolis, are striking for six hours and holding a day rally outside Amazon’s warehouse on Monday, the first day of Amazon’s two-day Prime discount extravaganza. The strike, which Bloomberg reported last week, most likely gained have much of an impact on Amazon’s business — it has more than 100 warehouses in the United States — but it’s yet another example of both company and lower-level tech employees’ increased willingness to speak out against their employers and company. It also shows that Amazon’s promise last year to pay a $15 minimum wage is not enough to maintain its workforce completely satisfied forever.
Organizers claimed more than 100 workers would strike, but in reality, turnout numbers are unclear. The striking warehouse employees are joined by a handful of Amazon engineers who are flying out for leaving a place of work from Seattle. Among them is Weston Fribley, a software engineer who was one of the organizers of an employee push for Amazon to implement a climate-change plan. The initiative failed a shareholder vote in May.
The Awood Centre, a group for employees in Minnesota with East African heritage, is spearheading Monday’s strike. The group has helped Amazon employees engage in activism earlier than — last year, they got Amazon to reduce workloads while Muslim workers were fasting for Ramadan and convinced the company to create a designated prayer space for workers. The Minnesota staff were the first ones to sit down and talk about working conditions with Amazon management, and they’re still pushing the company to be better.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced last fall the company would start paying its workers $15 an hour. Many of the company’s critics, including Sen. Sanders, praised the move, though Sanders continued to attack the company on working conditions. He named a bill last year after Bezos, aiming so-known as “company welfare.” Even former Vice President Joe Biden, and more average contender in the 2020 race, has criticized Amazon.