Amazon.com Inc. illegally fired two employees who advocated better working conditions during the pandemic, the United States National Labor Relations Board found.
Last year, the online retailer terminated the employment of Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, who accused the company of discriminating against policies and of having vague rules that “chill and prevent Staff to exercise their rights, according to their complaint filed in October. by Reuters.
The council said Monday that its regional manager in Seattle will file a complaint if the parties do not resolve the case.
The move comes at a delicate time for Amazon as it awaits the outcome of a vote by workers in Bessemer, Alabama, on whether to make their warehouse the company’s first unionized facility in the country.
Cunningham and Costa, who gained notoriety for pushing the company to do more on climate change, questioned Amazon’s pandemic safety protocols about a year ago and worked to collect funds for warehouse staff at risk of contracting COVID-19.
In a statement, Amazon said it supports the right of workers to criticize working conditions, but that does not exempt staff from breaking legal rules. “We fired these employees not for speaking publicly about working conditions, safety or sustainability, but rather for repeatedly violating internal policies,” he said.
Amazon did not specify what those policies were on Monday.
Cunningham and Costa did not immediately comment. Marc Perrone, international president of the UFCW union whose local unit helped bring a complaint, said in a statement: “Today is a reminder that Amazon will break the law to silence its own workers who ‘express.’
The New York Times reported the news earlier.
(Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)
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