Workers stand in line to vote in the union election at the Amazon JFK8 Distribution Center, Staten Island, New York, USA, March 25, 2022.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

Amazon fired two employees associated with the organizational company, which resulted in the first trade union in the United States

Matt Cusick and Tristan Dutchin told CNBC that Amazon had fired them in recent days. Both Cusick and Dutchin are working with the Amazon Workers’ Union, an upstart group led by current and former employees to organize workers in the e-commerce giant’s warehouses on Staten Island, New York.

ALU won a historic victory last month when workers at New York’s largest warehouse in New York, known as JFK8, voted to join the union. ALU had hoped to repeat its success at a smaller institution nearby, called LDJ5, but last week the site rejected the merger. However, the victory at JFK8 spurred organizational efforts at other Amazon warehouses, and the ALU received high acclaim, primarily from President Joe Biden.

Dutchin, who has worked as a package collector at JFK8 for nearly a year, said he was fired on Saturday after he completed his shift. Amazon told him it failed to meet the company’s performance targets, which require employees to select hundreds of packages per hour.

Dutchin said he had previously received warnings from Amazon about his activities, but has since undergone additional training. Dutchin said his manager recently even congratulated him on improving his performance.

Kusik, who is ALU’s director of communications, said he was fired last week after going on a “Covid care leave” that allows staff to care for family members with Covid-19.

A woman is holding a poster when Amazon and union workers attend a rally near the company building on April 24, 2022 in the Staten Island area of ​​New York City.

Kena Betancourt AFP | Getty Images

An Amazon HR officer allowed him to go on vacation until April 29, Cusick said. But on April 30, he received an email from Amazon stating that he had been absent from work for three days, which led to his dismissal, Cusick said.

The next day, Cusick, who was sorting packages for delivery at an Amazon company called DYY6, near JFK8, found that he had been blocked from accessing Amazon’s internal portal.

“I called the ERC,” Cusick said, referring to the staff resource center, “and said, ‘What’s going on, I think I’ve been fired.’

“I think the first person could have said I wasn’t fired,” he said. “I went from China to India, to several different teams in the US, and everyone had a different attitude to what was happening.”

On May 4, Cusick received a letter from Amazon stating that he had been fired “for quitting his job,” according to a copy of the letter viewed by CNBC.

Amazon’s HR systems have been the subject of close attention in the past. Studies by The New York Times and Bloomberg have found problems with a highly automated system that struggles to keep up with the company’s fast-growing workforce, especially during a coronavirus pandemic.

Cusick described his dismissal as an “automatic dismissal.”

“Amazon systems are almost entirely digital,” Cusick said. “I was locked out of the system where all this stuff is stored. I’m blocked from the building, so I can’t even go to the building where I work to talk to the people inside. “

The shelling was previously reported by Vice. Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nanthel said the cases of Cusick and Dane were unrelated, and denied that they had been fired in retaliation for organizing with the ALU.

“We work hard to meet the needs of our team, but like any employer, we ask our employees to meet certain minimum expectations and take appropriate action if they are unable to do so,” Nantel said.

“They pay attention to it”

Earlier, Amazon fired employees who were outspoken critics of the company’s work practices, including Chris Smalls, president of ALU. Amazon was recently ordered to return JFK8 employee Gerald Bryson to his job after a judge ruled that the company “illegally” fired him two years ago for participating in a protest against the pandemic.

“I gave interviews, went to rallies,” Datchin said. “I’m part of the ALU and I make national headlines, they pay attention to that.”

The union’s victory at JFK8 was a major victory for working groups that for several years sought to organize Amazon facilities. For ALU, the problems are not over, because now he needs to try to conclude a collective agreement with Amazon, which has already tried to postpone the contract, challenging the election results in court.

In addition to dismissing the organizer at JFK8, the company has also made changes to the top ranks of the site in recent days.

Last week, Amazon fired at least half a dozen senior JFK8 managers, according to The New York Times. Amazon spokeswoman Kelly Nantel said the layoffs were the result of weeks of “operations and management” assessments at JFK8. But the sacked managers saw the move as a response to the union’s recent victory, the Times reported.

While Amazon may be legally allowed to fire managers who are not part of the negotiating unit, the company may face further struggles from the National Labor Council for firing union organizers, said Tom Kochan, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

“Dismissing union organizers is clearly immoral and breaking the law, but it could pay off for the firm because the fines are very low,” Kochan said. “It is also very difficult to enforce the law to prove that an employee was fired for union activity and not for failing to show up on time or doing his job effectively.”

WATCH: The Amazon Labor Union wins

Source by [author_name]

Previous articleWarhol’s Marilyn auction received $ 195 million; most for the American artist
Next articleTom Brady and Gisele Bundchen’s eco-mansion on $17m plot on Miami’s exclusive ‘Billionaire’s Bunker’