Amazon Warehouse Workers Plan Strike on Prime Day

Lady holding money.

Lady holding money.

July 15 is coming fast, and for those of you who have an Amazon Prime membership, it can’t arrive soon enough. However, retail giant Amazon has more to worry about than their huge, sitewide sale on Monday because, in Shakopee, Minnesota, staff have already announced plans to go on a six-hour strike on the first day of Prime Day(s), July 15.

Issues With the Company

Prime Day for Amazon is one of the busiest, most successful times of the year for the e-giant. But this year, for the first time in the U.S., warehouse workers are planning a strike on one of Amazon’s biggest sale days. The staff is planning a six-hour strike on July 15 at a fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota, hoping that their strike will bring attention to the subpar working conditions under Amazon.

“Amazon is going to be telling one story about itself, which is they can ship a Kindle to your house in one day, isn’t that wonderful,” said William Stolz, one of the Shakopee employees organizing the strike. “We want to take the opportunity to talk about what it takes to make that work happen and put pressure on Amazon to protect us and provide safe, reliable jobs.” [1]

Employees have cited issues with the high production quotas Amazon demands from their staff, as well as the low number of full-time employees Amazon converts from temporary workers. Although this single warehouse is only one in over 100 and probably won’t impact Prime Day, it could set off a series of other, more extensive strikes across the globe.

Not the First Time

This isn’t the first time Amazon has been put in the spotlight due to employees complaining about conditions. Earlier this year, the company raised its minimum wage to $15 per hour- mainly after pressure from Senator Bernie Sanders.

Amazon responded to the strike threats by listing the benefits Amazon employees receive. “The fact is Amazon offers already what this outside organization is asking for,” the company said. “We provide great employment opportunities with excellent pay – ranging from $16.25-$20.80 an hour, and comprehensive benefits including health care, up to 20 weeks parental leave, paid education, promotional opportunities, and more. We encourage anyone to compare our pay, benefits, and workplace to other retailers and major employers in the Shakopee community and across the country.” [2]

The company finished by suggesting that strikers will be risking punishment if they step away- whether that comes in the form of deducting strike time from their quarterly leave allowance or firing certain employees.


Notes:

  1. ^Eidelson, Josh and Spencer Soper. “Amazon Workers Plan Prime Day Strike at Minnesota Warehouse.” Bloomberg.com, 8 July 2019, www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-07-08/amazon-workers-plan-prime-day-strike-despite-15-an-hour-pledge. (go back↩)
  2. ^Morris, Chris. “Amazon Warehouse Workers Plan Strike During Prime Day 2019.” Fortune, 8 July 2019, fortune.com/2019/07/08/amazon-prime-day-2019-strike. (go back↩)

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