Saturday, May 18, 2024
    HomeBusinessMichigan Amazon workers join national Prime week strike

    Michigan Amazon workers join national Prime week strike

    Michigan Amazon workers are joining a national strike against the e-commerce giant during its Amazon Prime week of sales.

    Workers at the Amazon delivery station in Pontiac picketed on Friday, July 14, joining eight other warehouses across the country.

    The strike comes on the heels of the company’s trademark sale: Amazon Prime Day. Prime Day, which is an exclusive sale for members, ran from July 11-12 although some deals are continuing until July 15.

    Early data suggests this year’s Prime Day sale could be the company’s most profitable yet. Consumers spent $12.7 billion during the two-day sale, a 6.1% jump from a year ago, according to Adobe Analytics. Amazon said July 11 was the single largest sales day in the company’s history, but declined to provide totals.

    Between 50 to 100 Michigan workers walked out in solidarity with drivers and dispatchers in Palmdale, California who began striking on June 24. Pontiac workers are not formally unionized. About 40 Teamsters from other sectors also picketed in support.

    America’s first Amazon union formed in Staten Island in April 2022. The independent grassroots Amazon Labor Union has struggled to gain ground. Other Amazon workers, like those in Palmdale, have joined Teamster unions.

    Michigan workers are striking on the grounds of unfair labor practices and an unsafe work environment, according to a press release from Teamsters.

    “We are on strike to stop Amazon’s unfair labor practices and get the respect we deserve,” said Alicia Ozier, a warehouse worker at the Pontiac delivery station. “Amazon puts productivity first and our safety second. I’ve been injured when a box fell on my eye. The pay is too low to cover my bills. Amazon is a trillion-dollar company because of us, and we deserve to be treated fairly.”

    The Pontiac workers delivered a petition to Amazon management in October 2022 demanding changes to their working conditions. Amazon revoked a previous peak-season pay increase. Workers suffer injuries from heavy packages and quickly moving conveyer belts, according to Teamsters.

    Workers also complained that if they are just a few minutes late for a shift, Amazon deducts a whole hour of their earned unpaid time off. The workers marched on management and wore buttons calling for improvements.

    Teamsters claims Amazon responded with retaliation against workers who lead the charge to organize.

    “We certainly respect the right of individuals to peacefully protest, but our focus remains on ensuring our employees and partners delivering for customers are safe and able to work freely,” said Lisa Levandowski, Amazon spokesperson.

    “We’re grateful to them for their hard work and commitment. And, with less than one percent of the employees at the facilities participating in today’s protest, we don’t anticipate any significant impact to our operations.”

    Some improvements have been made over in the last few months but more needs to be done by Amazon, said Nicolas White, a warehouse worker at the Pontiac facility.

    Michigan workers joined the strike alongside workers in California, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

    “We invited them to extend their picket line to Michigan because this is one fight,” White said. “Across the country, Amazon workers are dealing with a lot of the same problems, from low pay to dangerous working conditions. When one of my coworkers got hit by a cart and needed medical attention, they were told to keep working because Amazon was short-staffed. We are fighting back.”

    More on MLive:

    ‘We’re not afraid to take action’: UAW threatens strike ahead of Big Three bargaining

    Unions find foothold in marijuana industry, but growth is slow

    ‘Right-to-work’ is repealed in victory for organized labor



    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here

    - Advertisment -
    Google search engine

    Most Popular

    Recent Comments