Published: Tue, July 09, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Amazon Warehouse Workers In Shakopee To Strike On ‘Prime Day’

Amazon Warehouse Workers In Shakopee To Strike On ‘Prime Day’

Amazon has faced criticism from stateside employees, with Minnesota being one of the hotbeds of such worker activism.

Amazon workers are often hugely disadvantaged despite working for a company owned by the world's richest man, and this is the first time USA workers will strike on an important sales day.

Workers at Amazon's Minnesota facilities began complaining previous year about harsh working conditions, increasing workloads, safety and limited advancement opportunities. Democratic U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Somali American from Minneapolis, joined them for a rally in December.

Their efforts were said to have led to some minor changes included the aforementioned easing of workload demands during the Muslim holiday and creating a dedicated prayer space in a conference room.

This year's strike is addressing not just those issues, but also poor compensation and Amazon's alleged unwillingness to convert a higher number of its temporary contract employees (which typically do not receive company benefits) to full-time workers. One complaint, filed against Amazon's staffing vendor Integrity Staffing Solutions, alleges that it illegally retaliated against a worker who organizers say had been mobilizing co-workers for the March strike and was terminated as he was about to walk off the job to participate. Amazon declined to comment. "They demand the best from their employees, and now we're demanding the best from our management, and they haven't given that to us yet", Brady said.

As Amazon readies for the 48-hour shopping extravaganza that is Prime Day, a group of its workers are planning a walkout.

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The Seattle-based company, which says Amazon Prime has over 100million paid members, called the organizers' allegations baseless. In 2018, Amazon raised its minimum wage for hourly workers to $15 per hour, though other changes to pay incentives were also made.

Performance is measured and evaluated over a long period because the company understands 'a variety of things could impact the ability to meet expectations in any given day or hour, ' Alfred said, and those who don't meet expectations are given coaching to help them improve.

The company does not expect any disruptions in shipments. The event is not expected to affect Amazon's ability to fulfill Prime Day orders in a timely fashion.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders has also criticized Amazon's pay and working conditions.

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.

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