Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Shakopee, Minnesota, are planning an Amazon Prime Day strike in protest of the company’s quota system and employment practices. The protest will last six hours (in two three-hour chunks) on July 15, the first day of the Prime Day sales period.
According to Bloomberg, which first reported on the strike, American Amazon workers have never protested during a major sale like this (though the practice is more common in Europe). The workers at the Shakopee warehouse say they want reduced productivity quotas and the conversion of temporary workers to full-time employees.
“[T]hey can ship a Kindle to your house in one day, isn’t that wonderful,” a Shakopee worker named William Stolz told Bloomberg. “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.”
According to Engadget, Amazon staffing vendor Integrity Staffing Solutions was recently accused of retaliating against striking workers. Integrity is accused of firing one organizer and deducting strike time from strikers’ leave allowance, according to Engadget.
Because of this, Abdirahman Muse of East African worker advocacy group the Awood Center told The Washington Post that Minnesota’s Amazon workers have feared retaliation for strikes of their own.
“In order to show that they won’t wait around any longer in the face of these injustices,” Muse told the Post, “workers decided to go on strike on Prime Day to show they are serious about achieving a voice on the job to win the things families in Minnesota and across the country deserve.”
In a statement (via The Washington Post), Amazon said the protest’s demands have already been met, explaining that the facility’s workers are paid $16.25 to $20.80 an hour (Amazon recently raised its minimum pay to $15 an hour, according to the Post) and that 90% of the workers were full-time employees. Amazon then invited “anyone to see for themselves by taking a tour of the facility” in order to prove the company’s commitment to good working conditions.
Amazon has advertised Prime Day 2019 to feature gaming deals, including in-game items, exclusive to Amazon Prime subscribers. The event will also include special Apex Legends and EA Sports Twitch Prime streaming events in Los Angeles and London.