Amazon Minnesota warehouse workers plan ‘Prime Day’ strike

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Amazon launched Prime Day five years ago as a means of boosting sales during the dog days of summer.

Abdirahman Muse, the Executive Director of the Awood Center, a group that advocates for East African workers, said that these workers have been bemoaning conditions for nearly 18 months.

While CEO Jeff Bezos announced in October that Amazon would raise its minimum wage to $15 per hour - well ahead of the $11 per hour offered by Walmart, the nation's largest private-sector employer - the company has long faced criticism for the reported grueling pace, strict hourly quotas and strenuous physical labor that some say distribution center workers are expected to keep up with or risk losing their jobs. What's The Plan? The Shakopee workers will strike for about three hours at the end of the day shift and the start of the night shift.

Strike organizers say workers, community supporters and elected officials will be rallying from 4 p.m.to 6 p.m. outside the warehouse "on Amazon's most important day of the year".

'We need change. We need something, ' Mohamad said. Past year workers thronged the entryway of a delivery center chanting "Yes we can" in Somali and English, presenting management with demands such as reduced workloads while fasting for Ramadan.

A group of Amazon engineers reportedly intend to fly to Minnesota to join the demonstration, which will include demands that Amazon take steps to curb climate change, along with relaxing productivity quotas and making the company's corps of temp workers permanent employees. Members of the group, Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, say their causes are stronger together. One alleges that Integrity Staffing Solutions, Amazon's staffing vendor, illegally retaliated and fired an employee organizing a walkout in March. Amazon told Bloomberg it had yet to see these complaints.

This year's strike is addressing not just those issues, but also poor compensation and Amazon's alleged unwillingness to convert a higher number of its temporary contract employees (which typically do not receive company benefits) to full-time workers. Employees there have already pushing Amazon's managers to negotiate over firings and worker complaints. Such actions could chill workplace activism and run afoul of federal law, even if they didn't lead to any actual terminations, said Seattle University law professor Charlotte Garden. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren among the two loudest critics of the e-commerce giant.

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