Amazon Minnesota warehouse workers plan 'Prime Day' strike

Amazon Minnesota warehouse workers planning Prime Day strike

The first day of Prime Day is July 15, when Amazon offers deep discounts on high-demand items like televisions and appliances. So they've called for a six-hour stoppage that will overlap the morning and evening shifts on Prime Day.

While European Amazon workers are said to routinely strike during major shopping days like Prime Day and Black Friday, US Amazon employees haven't done so since 2016, when 250 union pilots working for Amazon and DHL Worldwide Express had a brief strike leading up to Thanksgiving.

Just as Amazon is finalizing plans for its big Prime Day summer sale next week, the company is facing more labor problems in its Minneapolis-area warehouses.

"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", William Stolz, one of the employees at the Minnesota branch organizing the strike, told Bloomberg. Critics say it benefits from tax breaks to build warehouses but pays workers so little that some are forced to seek government assistance for basic needs like food and health care.

The Shakopee Amazon warehouse has about 1,500 full-time employees and about 30 per cent of them are East African.

The strike and rally in Shakopee, Minnesota, are being organized by the Awood Center, a group that advocates for Somali and other East African workers. "That's what I tell people", said employee Meg Brady.

Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, contended that speeding up deliveries may not be feasible for fulfillment center workers who are already processing several hundred orders per hour during long shifts. In addition to demanding an easing up on quotas and making temporary employees permanent, they will be asking that Amazon takes more action against climate change, according to Bloomberg.

"We proudly stand in solidarity with our FC coworkers who are striking on #PrimeDay because whether you work behind a computer in Seattle or in a warehouse in Minnesota, the only way we can create meaningful change is by standing together", Amazon Employees For Climate Justice said in a tweet on Monday. Prior to the company's decision to raise its minimum wages to $15 per hour, US Senator Bernie Sanders had continually criticised Amazon for its treatment of workers. They don't fool around, ' he said. They went on strike in March to demand better working conditions during Ramadan. Protestors are seeking to hold Amazon accountable for past efforts to halt strikes that organizers allege were illegal. Amazon told Bloomberg it had yet to see these complaints.

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