A group of mostly-Somalian workers at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Shakopee organized another walkout during an overnight shift Friday.
In a Facebook post, the Awood Center, a local non-profit seeking to build “East African worker power,” said that a “majority of workers in the STOW department at Amazon’s MSP1 facility in Shakopee, Minnesota walked off the job to demand better working conditions.”
“These 30 workers came together to demand that Amazon employees have safe jobs, respect from managers and a voice in the workplace,” the post said.
Amazon spokeswoman Brenda Alfred, however, said the “characterization of the size of the group is inaccurate.”
“The group of employees involved did not represent the majority of the night shift in the STOW department and actually was far fewer than half,” she told Shakopee Valley News. “A small group of associates left during their shift, some of whom went to a nearby restaurant so we disagree on how this activity has been portrayed.”
As The Minnesota Sun reported, protesters affiliated with the Awood Center organized a walkout in early December, which Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN05) attended.
“Their dignity is not being uplifted. For the honest work they are putting in, that is not being respected. And when we work, we expect there to be dignity, we expect there to be respect, we expect there to be fair compensation,” Omar said during the protest.
Amazon already agreed to one set of compromises last year, including the involvement of a general manager and one Somali-speaking manager in all firing decisions, a quarterly meeting with management, and a designated manager who will respond to complaints within five days.
On Friday, protesters issued a new set of demands, such as the end to “counting prayer and bathroom breaks” against productivity rates and a “committee where workers’ concerns are heard.”
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