An independent group of Amazon workers called Amazonians United is accusing the e-commerce giant of laying off four workers in Queens because they “supported a labor organization”. Based on News about BuzzFeed, the group filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board on April 14, arguing that the company fired the workers for “opposing the terms and conditions of employment.” The group also said that Amazon took the move to “discourage union activities.”
Workers at Amazon warehouses in Long Island City and Woodsland staged a walkout in March demanding a pay raise to $3 an hour and reinstatement of their 20-minute break. One Motherboard The protest report notes that workers are earning about $15.75 to $17.25 an hour, and Amazon has shortened their break from 20 to 15 minutes. Workers at Queens facilities also join a petition circulated in December demanding a better inclement weather policy and the right to keep your phone with you in the event of an emergency.
As a labor organization, Amazonians United collectively fights for better policies that benefit workers without becoming a full-fledged union. It has successfully fought for workplace policy changes and wage increases in the past. In this particular case, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) still had to review the group’s complaint before deciding if it was worth it. Just a few days ago, the NLRB successfully persuaded a judge to ask Amazon to restore Gerald Bryson, Staten Island warehouse worker. The judge sided with the labor panel and agreed with their argument that the company fired Bryson in retaliation for participating in a COVID-19 safety protest in 2020.
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