Amazon: Walkout leader’s firing wasn’t due to his organizing efforts

Workers protest outside a massive Amazon fulfillment center on Staten Island on Monday, March 30.
Enlarge / Employees protest exterior an enormous Amazon achievement heart on Staten Island on Monday, March 30.
New York Communities for Change

Amazon has fired an worker after he helped set up a walkout of Amazon employees at a achievement heart in Staten Island, New York. The employee, Chris Smalls, says Amazon was retaliating towards him for his office activism.

“Taking motion value me my job,” Smalls mentioned in a Monday interview on Bloomberg TV. “As a result of I attempted to face up for one thing that’s proper, the corporate determined to retaliate towards me.”

Amazon disputes that cost.

“Mr. Smalls obtained a number of warnings for violating social distancing tips and placing the protection of others in danger. He was additionally discovered to have had shut contact with a identified affiliate with a confirmed case of COVID-19 and was requested to stay dwelling with pay for 14-days,” Amazon mentioned in a press release to Ars. As an alternative, the corporate says that Smalls “got here onsite on March 30, additional placing the groups in danger.”

Employees walked out of Amazon’s facility on Staten Island on Monday to protest what they noticed as an insufficient response to a coronavirus outbreak on the website. Organizers say 60 employees participated within the walkout, whereas Amazon estimates solely 15 employees participated. Amazon says the ability employs greater than 5,000 individuals.

Amazon acknowledged one coronavirus case there final week and ordered staff who had been in touch with that worker to self-quarantine. However the protesting employees consider there have been a number of extra coronavirus circumstances that Amazon hasn’t publicly acknowledged. They need Amazon to close down the ability for a deep cleansing and to take different steps to raised shield employee well being.

Amazon says it is working laborious to stop the unfold of the coronavirus amongst staff. The corporate notes that it not too long ago started performing day by day temperature screenings of staff on the Staten Island facility to establish potential coronavirus circumstances. And Amazon says it has enacted aggressive social distancing measures, together with limits on face-to-face conferences and staggered shifts and breaks to restrict the variety of individuals coming into or exiting work areas at anyone time.

About Timothy B. Lee

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