Hey, I am just reporting the news. Don’t assume I am in any way feeling bad for Amazon! See my previous posts on Somali workers protesting in Minnesota.
From The Verge:
Amazon workers in Minnesota walk out in protest over part-time work
A day after The Verge reported on Sacramento Amazon workers protesting Amazon’s strict time-off rules, more than 60 Amazon workers in similar roles in an Eagan, Minnesota, warehouse walked off the job. During the two-and-a-half-hour protest, workers demanded the lifting of the 30-hour-per-week cap, a more respectful work environment, and a less strenuous workload.
The Sacramento and Eagan employees work in Amazon delivery stations, which are smaller warehouses that sort packages for delivery routes. Delivery stations are staffed almost entirely by part-time employees who receive no medical insurance and can be fired for taking more than 20 hours off without pay per quarter.
“We are not allowed to work more than 30 hours per week, even though there’s more work,” said a worker in a video of the walkout posted by Workday Minnesota. Amazon would be required to offer employees who work more than 30 hours a week medical insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The worker went on to say that they must lift heavy boxes and take time off without pay if they get injured. “We have no value here, they treat us like we are not human.” [Golly! Was Obamacare just a way to let the big guys like Amazon avoid paying medical insurance?—ed]
Nimo Omar, an organizer with the Awood Center, a nonprofit focused on East African workers that has been active in organizing Minnesota Amazon employees, attended last night’s walkout. Omar said the workers demanded a more respectful work environment and complained of heavy workloads and close monitoring, including managers knocking on the door if they spent more than several minutes in the bathroom. Like the Sacramento workers, they also felt Amazon’s unpaid time-off policy was inflexible and demanded the option to work more than 30 hours a week.
The Eagan delivery center and nearby fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota, have emerged as hotbeds of worker activism within Amazon’s distribution system. Many of the workers are Muslim immigrants from Somalia and elsewhere in East Africa, and in the summer of 2018, they began protesting that the pace of work and time-off system made it difficult to observe Ramadan. Amazon met with the organizers, but workers say the company didn’t address their concerns. They staged a strike during Prime Day this year over the increasing pace of work and other issues.
Before the Eagan workers walked out, the Awood Center posted a message to Facebook saying workers in Minnesota were dealing with the same issues as those in Sacramento.
Shortly after 9PM, more than 60 workers walked off the job. According to the Awood Center, the employees agreed to return to work two and a half hours later when the manager on site agreed to talk to his boss about their demands.
The Awood Center said in a Facebook post that all truck deliveries for the night were canceled due to the backlog created by the walkout.
Will Amazon eventually cave to demands? We will be watching!
Just so you know, most Somalis in the US today are here through the US Refugee Admissions Program and federally-funded refugee resettlement contractors like the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service placed them in Minnesota
.I’m so glad to have RRW back! Here is a post I wrote in 2011 explaining how Minneapolis became Little Mogadishu.