NEW YORK- Following a garbage compactor fire at one of its sites in New York, union leaders claim that Amazon has suspended at least 50 warehouse workers who chose not to perform their hours.
NEW York: Following a fire protest, Amazon suspends around 50 employees.
A day after the fire halted business at the Staten Island facility where workers had earlier this year elected to form a union, the corporation on Tuesday suspended the employees with pay.
The fire broke out late Monday afternoon, according to Derrick Palmer, vice president of the Amazon Labor Union, and day-shift workers were sent home with pay. He said that night-shift workers who had just arrived for work had been instructed to wait in a break room while management assessed the issue.
Numerous employees started to voice their worries regarding safety. Some others were concerned that the smoke from the fire would make the air inside the facility unhealthy to breathe. At the facility’s main office, some 100 workers eventually staged a sit-down protest and demanded to be sent home with pay.
“We don’t feel comfortable, we don’t feel safe to work,” they were saying, according to Palmer.
In a prepared statement, Amazon spokesman Paul Flaningan stated that the corporation had instructed all night shift workers to report to work on Monday after the New York Fire Department declared the building safe.
A tiny number of employees refused to go to work and stayed in the building without authorization, Flaningan added, “while the great majority of staff reported to their workstations.” According to the organisers, other employees had also left their jobs while the protest was still going on.
According to Palmer, the suspended employees received phone and email notifications that their security badges would be inactive throughout the investigation. As the business conducts its investigation, the suspensions are in place indefinitely. Workers who have been suspended may become more numerous. The workers expect to file complaints against Amazon with the National Labor Relations Board alleging unfair labour practises, according to Seth Goldstein, an attorney for the union.
Amazon has submitted over two dozen complaints to the agency in an effort to get the April victory against the union overturned. Next Monday, warehouse workers at a different location close to Albany, New York, will cast ballots in their own union election.
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