SAN FRANCISCO | The layoffs of two Amazon computer designers, who had criticized the e-commerce giant, were indeed retaliatory measures on the part of the group, the federal agency responsible for labor law in the United States concluded. after the New York Times.
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The agency confirmed its decision to AFP on Monday: it will file a complaint against Amazon for breach of employment law if the group does not regularize the case with Maren Costa and Emily Cunningham.
These two leaders of the AECJ collective (“Amazon employees for climate justice”), had been dismissed a year ago, officially for “repeated breaches of internal regulations”.
“Whistleblower. (…) Designate. Fired for sounding the alarm on the climate and COVID-19, ”says Emily Cunningham’s profile on Twitter. That of Maren Costa explains that they were fired at Easter (in 2020) for “having fought for the safety of our colleagues in the time of COVID”.
“We support the right of all our employees to criticize the working conditions of their employer, but this does not mean complete immunity against our internal regulations, which are legal,” responded an Amazon spokesperson.
“We did not thank these employees for speaking out on safety or sustainability,” he insisted.
With other engineers and coders from Amazon, they called for a strike on April 24, to protest against the company’s human resources practices and demand measures for the environment and better working conditions for warehouse workers.
“We want to tell Amazon that we are fed up with all this, the layoffs, attempts to silence us, pollution, racism and climate change,” said Maren Costa, according to a press release from the AECJ, during an online meeting with nearly 400 employees.
Amazon, the second largest employer in the United States with 800,000 employees, is regularly criticized on the front of social and environmental responsibilities by associations and some of its employees.
The discontent was amplified by the pandemic. The group founded by the richest man in the world has almost doubled its net profit to 21 billion dollars in 2020, thanks to the explosion of demand in times of pandemic, but employees complain of hellish rates and risks contamination.
A movement has taken shape to create a union in a warehouse in Alabama. It would be a first for Amazon in the United States if successful.