In midst of 'Prime Day,' Amazon workers in Shakopee to strike

Jeannie Matthews
July 16, 2019

While European protests have taken place during past Prime Days, a six-hour walkout in Shakopee, Minnesota will be the first major action taken by us employees.

Amazon began doing business in 1994 and has grown to become a global company with billions in annual earnings.

Productivity quotas for workers are estimated around 600 packages per hour, no matter the size of the items.

"Management demands the best from its workers and now we want management's best", Brady said.

"By doubling Prime Day's duration and halving the delivery time, the company is testing hundreds of thousands of workers' physical limits as though they were trained triathletes", said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. The retail giant also denied that it underpaid workers.

"We wanted to attend because our groups share common goals - namely, to make Amazon a better place to work, to ensure the company takes responsibility for its impact on the community, and to secure Amazon's future as a sustainable enterprise", Fribley said in an email.

The demonstrators holding posters and shouting slogans rallied in front of the Amazon office on the first day of the annual two-day Prime Day shopping event that Amazon hopes to draw millions of global users for big sales that would possibly rake in billions of USA dollars. Amazon recently raised its minimum wage after major public backlash put pressure on the company and it claims to offer "competitive hourly rates" with benefits.

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Amazon has come under fire in recent years for its treatment of low-level warehouse workers, with some describing long hours, low wages and a heavier workload stemming from Amazon's push to one-day shipping. "It's prime time for Amazon to get round the table with GMB and discuss ways to make the workplaces safer and to give their workers and independence voice". Currently, around 1,500 employees work at the Shakopee facility.

Now in 17 countries, the event will span Monday and Tuesday, highlighted by a pre-recorded Taylor Swift video concert and promotions across a range of products and services from the e-commerce leader.

Amazon has consistently defended work conditions, contending it is a leader when it comes to paying workers at least $15 hourly and providing benefits. The Guardian has described warehouse workers being injured on the job and then denied benefits or help.

These conditions led Amazon workers across Europe to go on strike on Prime Day in 2018.

Protesters marched by the billionaire's home carrying boxes with the Amazon logo turned into a frowny face and signs that said things like: "Amazon + ICE = Detention" and 'Stop hunting our kids'.

Employees tell FoxBusiness that the company is hiring too many temporary workers. This year, Amazon workers at the Shakopee fulfillment center will take up the mantle and engage in a six-hour work stoppage.

Amazon engineer Weston Fribley is one of those employees. Protests planned for this week in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, and Shakopee are calling for Amazon to break off ties with the enforcement agency.

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