During Amazon Prime Day while people browse the internet searching for the best deals, some warehouse workers who handle these orders will be protesting.
On July 15, more than 100 employees at the Shakopee, Minnesota Amazon fulfillment center will protest for better working conditions. The protest will last six hours.
The Awood Center, a nonprofit organization that defends “East African workers’ rights” and builds “East African worker power,” is organizing this protest.
“Amazon warehouse workers at MSP1 in Shakopee will go on strike as part of their continued push on the corporate giant to provide safe and reliable jobs, show respect for workers and their right to organize for better working conditions, open up opportunities for advancement for the predominantly East African workforce, and take concrete action to address pressing issues like climate change,” according to the event page.
Furthermore, “workers are still struggling to make these critical jobs ones that are safe, reliable and where the majority East African workforce is respected and promoted to leadership positions.”
Last December, the Shakopee facility held a protest where workers challenged Amazon’s working conditions. The Awood Center claimed the company’s new productivity rule of packing 70-plus items an hour was unfeasible. Also, the nonprofit thought it did not account for lawful prayer brakes.
Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN-05) spoke at the December walkout in support of the workers.
“Their dignity is not being uplifted. For the honest work they are putting in, that is not being respected. And when we work, we expect there to be dignity, we expect there to be respect, we expect there to be fair compensation,” she said.
Protest organizers who spoke to Bloomberg said Amazon held talks between employees and management last year. These talks lead to “modest changes” including relaxing work quotas during Ramadan and converting a conference room into a prayer space.
“We support people who are not performing to the levels expected with dedicated coaching to help them improve,” Amazon said in a statement provided to Bloomberg.
More than 50 million people are expected to participate in Amazon’s Prime Day.
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