Hundreds of warehouse employees at two Amazon sites in Chicago staged a pre-Christmas walkout this morning to demand better treatment and greater salaries during the busiest time of the year. “Raises have been denied to us.” Even when there are enough people to work here, we are overworked,” a worker at the DLN2 plant in Cicero stated during a live-stream hosted by Amazonians United’s Chicago chapter, which is not linked with Amazon.
“The bonuses that were promised to us have not arrived.” There are people here, who employed as permanent employees, but later their badges were taken away and they turned temporary employees. They’re overstaffing this facility, forcing employees to work too quickly when they don’t have to.”
These laborers, who work from 1:20 a.m. to 11:50 a.m., are also asking for a $5 rise per hour. According to Amazon, the current beginning salary at the two sites that staged walkouts, DLN2 in Cicero and DIL3 in Gage Park, is $15.80 per hour. As a pandemic precaution, the facility used to have 20-minute breaks, but they have now been limited to 15 minutes, according to the Amazonians United speaker.
The epidemic, however, is far from ended, especially as the omicron version spreads – three workers at the Cicero factory tested positive for COVID yesterday, according to the speaker. The workers submitted management with a petition stating their requests prior to walking out, but they said they did not receive a response, causing the walkout.
Workers were reportedly advised by management, according to the speaker, that those who participated in the strike “may as well leave their badges,” implying that they would not be returning.
It is unlawful to retaliate against private-sector employees who stage a walkout. Employees returned after the strikes to discover their schedules blank and that they had clocked out for the day, raising fears of reprisal among walkout participants. “We respect employees’ rights to demonstrate and acknowledge their legal right to do so.” In response, an Amazon representative said, “We are delighted to provide workers top wages, competitive benefits, and the chance to develop with our company.”
No employees were fired or suspend because of their involvement in the walkout, according to the Amazon representative. Workers were constantly told that if they objected, there would be no reprisal, according to the firm.
However, Amazon employees around the country have accused the business of attempting to suppress labor organizations. Jonathan Bailey, a co-founder of Amazonians United, filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) last year, alleging that the corporation had broken labor laws by retaliating against him for organizing.
He said that after arranging a walkout, he held and was interviewed by management for 90 minutes. The National Labor Relations Board judged these accusations true and filed a federal lawsuit against Amazon. The corporation settled and was compelled to inform employees of their right to organize via emails and physical bulletin boards as part of the settlement agreement.
According to NBC News, Bailey’s complaint to the NLRB was one of 37 filed against Amazon between February 2020 and March 2021. However, Amazon was found to have illegally stopped a Staten Island employee from disseminating pro-union literature in the break room two months after the settlement.