By Lauren Kaori Gurley
Saturday October 3, 2020
More than 35 warehouse workers walked off a night shift at an Amazon warehouse in Shakopee, Minnesota on Thursday to protest the firing of a co-worker who raised concerns to management about the lack of safety protections at work.
AWOOD CENTER VIA THE ATHENA COALITION
The walk-off at the Amazon facility came the same day Amazon revealed that almost 20,000 of its workers, roughly 1.5 percent of its U.S. workforce, have tested positive for COVID-19. Amazon’s Shakopee warehouse has a predominantly Somali workforce, which has received national attention for being the first group of workers to get Amazon management to improve working conditions.
“We’re not safe. People get written up for time-off-task when we drink water, and go to the bathroom. But we’re not robots, we’re human,” Guled Abdi, a worker at the Amazon warehouse in Shakopee, who participated in the walkout on Thursday night, told Motherboard.
Since the start of the pandemic, Amazon has fired at least two other warehouse workers who demanded better COVID-19 protections. In late March, Amazon fired a warehouse worker at its Staten Island, New York City fulfilment center who led a walkout, demanding improved COVID-19 protections. In a leaked memo obtained by VICE News, Amazon’s general counsel called Smalls, “not smart or articulate.”