Employees at an Amazon fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota are reportedly planning to stop working for six hours on July 15, the first day of the company's 48-hour Prime Day sales event. Still, the action shows that Amazon workers, buoyed by a tight labor market and employee activism elsewhere, have been emboldened to demand better treatment. Awood, which means "power" in Somali, was formed as a partnership between the Minnesota chapter of Council on American-Islamic Relations and Service Employees International Union Local 26. "They try to get someone to work as hard as you can under the threat of being fired", said Tyler Hamilton, a 22-year-old employed at the warehouse for almost two years.
Trying to get Amazon to ease quotas and its reliance on temporary workers, Hamilton and others at the facility plan to walk off the job for three hours at the end of the day shift and three hours at the beginning of the night shift on July 15.
Workers at Amazon's Minnesota facilities began complaining past year about harsh working conditions, increasing workloads, safety and limited advancement opportunities. The organization also led a rally in December calling for more diverse leadership, a dedicated prayer room and reduced workloads during Ramadan, when a large share of the fulfillment center's 1,500 employees is fasting from dawn until sunset.
"We're both fighting for a livable future", an Amazon software engineer from Seattle who is making the trip to Minnesota, told Bloomberg.
'We need change. We need something, ' Mohamad said.
US Amazon workers have not gone on strike since fall 2016, but they were ordered back to work by a judge to avoid disrupting the holiday shopping season.
Amazon, for its part, has responded to this year's strike, stating that at the Shakpoee facility in particular, "an average of 90 percent" of workers were already full-time.
In April, after Amazon announced its plan to make free one-day shipping the default plan for Prime members, the head of a major labor union published a statement expressing his opposition to the plan. Last year, Amazon said that it shipped over 100 million products. Regarding compensation, Amazon claims it "already offers" what strike organizers are asking for. 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.
The company does not expect any disruptions in shipments to customers, she said.
According to Amazon, Prime Day is a "two-day parade of epic deals".