Amazon workers in New York accuse the company of retaliatory firings

The e-commerce giant allegedly fired four Queens workers for supporting a labor organization.

·2 min read
BRIESELANG, GERMANY - NOVEMBER 18: A worker selects ordered item among shelves at an Amazon warehouse on November 18, 2021 in Brieselang, Germany. Many shoppers who fear gifts will be lacking due to the global supply chain disruption are buying their Christmas gifts early this year, both online and at brick and mortar retailers. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images) (Maja Hitij via Getty Images)

An independent group of Amazon workers called Amazonians United is accusing the e-commerce giant of firing four workers in Queens because they "supported a labor organization." According to BuzzFeed News, the group filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board on April 14th, arguing that the company fired the workers for "protesting terms and conditions of employment." The group also said that Amazon made the move to "discourage union activities."

Workers at Amazon's warehouses in Long Island City and Woodsland staged a walkout back in March to demand a pay raise of $3 an hour and the reinstatement of their 20-minute rest breaks. A Motherboard report about the protest noted that the workers were earning around $15.75 to $17.25 an hour and that Amazon had shortened their rest breaks from 20 to 15 minutes. Workers at the Queens facilities also joined a petition that circulated in December demanding better inclement weather policy and the right to keep their phones with them in case of emergency.

As a labor organization, Amazonians United collectively fights for better policies that benefit workers without being an official union. It successfully fought for workplace policy changes and pay raises in the past. In this particular case, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) still has to review the group's complaint before it decides if it has any merit. Just a few days ago, the NLRB successfully convinced a judge to order Amazon to reinstate Staten Island warehouse worker Gerald Bryson. The judge sided with the labor board and agreed with its argument that the company fired Bryson in retaliation for participating in a COVID-19 safety protest back in 2020.