‘They Treat Us Like We Are​ Not Humans’

Amid drizzle and near-freezing temperatures at 9:15 pm over 60 mostly East African workers walked out of the Eagan, MN Amazon delivery station, DMS 1. 

Night shift associates are demanding; respect, reduced workloads, restrictions on heavy packages, and a reversal of the 30 hour a week cap

While we were interviewing workers an Amazon official, Brian St. Peter asked us to leave the premises. We contacted the Amazon PR team and are still waiting for comment.

According to The Awood Center at around 11:45 the supervising manager on-site committed to communicating with his first thing in the morning to resolve the issues. Workers decided to return to work and “remain prepared to take action if no changes are made.” Workers reported that all truck delivery was canceled for the night due to the backlog the walk-off created. 

Fadumo Yusuf, an Amazon worker said:

tonight, me and the majority of our shift walked off the job in protest because we work to support our families. But we cannot keep working with no healthcare, lifting heavy boxes and being told to go home if we get injured. We are told this is only part-time work, but they are still hiring more. We need more hours. We have no value here, they treat us like we are not human beings. Tonight we stand together to say no more!

The action in Eagan, Minnesota echoes similar protests in Sacramento, California.

The group Amazonians United Sacramento. has been organizing around the paid time of policy. On September 30th the groups sent a petition to Amazon management

While Amazon is a trillion dollar company run by the richest man in the world, permanent part-time employees working 8 hour shifts are only allowed 10 days off a year for any reason. This means that every day we use [unpaid time off] for family emergencies, sickness, or vacation, we are one step closer to termination.

According to reporting in The Verge

Though Amazon often touts the medical insurance and paid time off it gives its warehouse workers, those benefits only apply to full-time employees. Amazon also employs large numbers of permanent part-time workers, particularly in the company’s smaller, last-mile warehouses, such as the one in Sacramento, where goods are sorted before being sent out for delivery. Employees at the Sacramento delivery center say that all of the approximately 500 workers there are restricted to part-time work, and their hours are limited to fewer than the 30 per week that would obligate Amazon to offer them health care under the Affordable Care Act. They receive neither medical insurance nor paid time off

The response from workers in Sacramento and Eagan, while not coordinated, suggest that a growing disillusionment with Amazon’s employee practices will inspire greater unrest among workers.

Filiberto Nolasco Gomez is a former union organizer and former editor of Minneapolis based Workday Minnesota, the first online labor news publication in the state. Filiberto focused on longform and investigative journalism. He has covered topics including prison labor, labor trafficking, and union fights in the Twin Cities.

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