Amazon employees at two Chicago warehouses walk out to demand better treatment - TechCrunch
In the morning, dozens of warehouse workers at two Amazon facilities near Chicago set out to walk before Christmas at the busiest time of the year to demand better treatment and higher pay.
“We went for rallies. We work too hard, even when there are a lot of people working here, ”said an employee at the DLN2 facility in Cicero on a live stream posted by Amazonians United chapter in Chicago, unrelated to Amazon . "We did not receive the bonuses we were promised. There are people here who were hired as permanent workers, and then they took off their badges and made them temporary workers. They work in this place unsafely, forcing people to work too fast, even though we don't have to. ”
These employees, who work between 1:20 AM and 11:50 AM, also want a $ 5 hourly increase. Amazon told TechCrunch that the standard start-up payment at the two touring facilities, DLN2 at Cicero and DIL3 at Gage Park, was $ 15.80 per hour. An Amazonians United spokesman also said the facility used to have a 20-minute break as a pandemic warning, but these were reduced to 15 minutes. However, the pandemic is not over, especially with the spread of the omicron variant - three employees confirmed positive for COVID yesterday at the Cicero facility, according to the spokesman.
Before they walked out, the staff petitioned the management listing their requests, but said they had not received a response, thus encouraging the walk.
The spokesman also said staff had been told by staff that anyone taking part in the walk could "leave their badges," meaning they would not return. . It is illegal to take action against employees of private companies for holding a tour. But workers reportedly returned after the strikes to find their records empty and put out for the day, raising concerns about retaliation among walking participants.
"We respect the rights of employees to complain and recognize their legal right to do so. We are proud to offer our company premium pay, competitive advantages, and growth opportunity, ”a Amazon spokesperson told TechCrunch in a statement.
An Amazon representative said no employees have been fired or suspended because of their participation in the walking tour. The company said employees had repeatedly been reassured that retaliation would not occur if they complained.
But across the country, Amazon employees have accused the company of disrupting labor organization. Last year, Amazonians United co-founder Jonathan Bailey lodged a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), saying the company had violated labor laws by opposing it for its sake. He said he was detained and questioned by a manager for 90 minutes after he arranged a walk. The NLRB received these allegations and filed a federal complaint against Amazon. The company set, and as part of the settlement agreement, reminded employees via emails and on corporate information boards that they have a right to organize.
Bailey's complaint to the NLRB was one of 37 against Amazon between February 2022 and March 2022, according to NBC News. But just months after this settlement, it was discovered that Amazon had illegally prevented a Staten Island employee from distributing pro-union literature in the restroom.
Even corporate employees have filed complaints against Amazon with the NLRB. In September, the company resolved a complaint from two Seattle office workers, Maren Costa and Emily Cunningham, which were terminated after a claim for warehouse workers at the onset of the pandemic- spread. The settlement calls on Amazon to compensate Costa and Cunningham for lost wages, and again, inform employees of their right to speak out about issues at Amazon.
But in the last few weeks, tensions have intensified. On Dec. 10 in Edwardsville, Illinois, six Amazon employees were killed when a tornado destroyed a DLI4 facility. For years, Amazon employees were not allowed to carry cell phones on warehouse platforms, but the company enacted this policy at the time of the pandemic. Recently, however, Amazon began resetting the policy. So when the National Weather Service issued an emergency warning urging people to take shelter, some Amazon employees had no way of knowing that a deadly storm was on its way.
As Amazon employees at facilities across the country seek compensation and better terms, the e - commerce giant is in the middle of the busiest time of the year.
"We'll work hard to make sure everyone gets their Christmas presents, that everyone gets their packages," a Chicago warehouse worker told FOX 32 Chicago. "It simply came to our notice then. We just want to be treated fairly. That's it."