Amazon.com's Prime day in the U.S. is just a mere days away. But while consumers will be busy clamoring to get deals on everything from electronics to apparel, some of its employees will spend the day striking.
Warehouse workers in Amazon's Shakopee, Minnesota fulfillment center are gearing up for a six-hour work stoppage on Prime Day, hoping to draw attention to the warehouse workers who make sure consumers get their packages, in some cases on the same day.
"Amazon is going to be telling one story about itself, which is they can ship a Kindle to your house in one day, isn’t that wonderful,” said William Stolz, one of the Shakopee employees organizing the strike in a report. “We want to take the opportunity to talk about what it takes to make that work happen and put pressure on Amazon to protect us and provide safe, reliable jobs.”
The workers plan to strike for three hours at the end of a day shift during Prime Day and for three hours at the beginning of the night shift. Workers will also hold a rally outside the warehouse to coincide with the work stoppage.
A strike at one of Amazon's warehouses won't make much of an impact, given it has more than 100 in the U.S. alone, but it does come at a time when the Seattle, Washington eCommerce giant is facing pressure by lawmakers and President Donald Trump. It has become a leading symbol of the income gap between executives and rank and file employees. It gets to benefit from tax breaks around the country, yet some of its employees are forced to seek government assistance because of low wages.
Amazon Raised its Minimum Wage in U.S.
Amazon is taking steps to improve its corporate image and do right by its workers. In October it announced it increased its minimum wage to $15 an hour for full-time, part-time, temporary and seasonal employees across the U.S. Amazon said at the time it would benefit more than 250,000 Amazon employees and more than 100,000 seasonal employees the company hired during the 2018 holiday selling season.
“We listened to our critics, thought hard about what we wanted to do, and decided we want to lead,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon Founder, and CEO said at the time. “We’re excited about this change and encourage our competitors and other large employers to join us.
The workers in Minnesota's Twin Cities area have been a vocal group in the past, raising concerns about labor conditions at the warehouse. They have pushed managers to negotiate when it comes to firings and complaints employees may have. Outside the U.S. strikes are more common with workers in Europe engaging in work stoppages during big sales events at Amazon including Prime Day and Black Friday. Workers in the U.S. aren't unionized, so strikes don't happen too often.