SHAKOPEE, Minn. - Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Shakopee, Minnesota are planning to strike on one of the busiest days of the year.
It’s all part of a growing movement to bring attention to some of the issues Amazon workers say they face on the job.
“I find it’s a really difficult place to work. That’s what I tell people,” said employee Meg Brady.
Meg Brady and Tyler Hamilton have worked at the Amazon Fulfillment Center a combined three years. Both package handlers describe the work environment as intense.
“When you have a higher production quota, that creates stress everywhere else,” Hamilton said.
“Right from day one, it’s very clear that if you don’t make these numbers, you won’t work here any longer, and I’ve had friends fired because they were too slow,” Brady added.
Reaching production goals, safety concerns, and the lack of full-time opportunities are among their top concerns.
“I think that we just want Amazon to do better. They demand the best from their employees, and now we’re demanding the best from our management, and they haven’t given that to us yet,” Brady said.
As the online retail giant prepares for Prime Day - a two-day shopping event that begins July 15 - Brady and Hamilton will join dozens of Amazon employees who plan to walk off the job in a six-hour strike.
However, employee pushback at the facility is nothing new. Just last year, dozens of east African Muslim workers protested for better working conditions.
“I think something that’s really important is for workers to realize that they do have rights in the workplace, and it’s okay to stand up for yourself and to try to improve things,” Hamilton said.
Amazon, which recently raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour, released a statement that reads in part, "the fact is, Amazon offers already what this outside organization is asking for."
According to Amazon, on average, 90 percent of Shakopee employees are working fulltime. Officials also said productivity metrics have not changed since November 2018.
But, some still insist Amazon can do better.
“It’s not that we don’t customers to buy from Amazon, it’s just that we want it to be a better workplace,” Brady said.
Full statement from an Amazon spokesperson:
The fact is Amazon offers already what this outside organization is asking for. We provide great employment opportunities with excellent pay – ranging from $16.25-$20.80 an hour, and comprehensive benefits including health care, up to 20 weeks parental leave, paid education, promotional opportunities, and more. We encourage anyone to compare our pay, benefits, and workplace to other retailers and major employers in the Shakopee community and across the country – and we invite anyone to see for themselves by taking a tour of the facility.