Workers at Amazon facility in East Point file labor complaints

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Two workers at an Amazon warehouse in East Point have filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), amid a broader push for higher pay and union representation at Amazon facilities in other locations around the country.

A labor activist group called United for Respect is working with some local Amazon workers, and alleges unfair labor practices at the e-commerce giant’s East Point warehouse.

The group is not a union, nor has it organized a union vote among East Point warehouse workers. But United for Respect says workers at the warehouse last month delivered a petition with more than 300 signatures calling for base pay starting at $18 an hour and a $5 an hour raise for other workers.

“The customers need to hear and know what we endure in order for them to get their two-day packages,” said Karen Tucker, a worker at the Amazon facility. “We endure physical body pain.”

She said after working at Amazon for seven-and-a-half years, she is making $18.40 an hour and “still struggling.”

In the complaints filed with the NLRB, two workers who were involved in delivering the pay petition allege retaliation. They say Amazon terminated them after the petition was submitted, according to United for Respect.

Amazon spokesperson Richard Rocha said in a written statement: “We don’t believe there is any merit to these claims filed with the NLRB, and look forward to presenting the facts as that process moves forward.”

Brandon Callaway, one of the workers who submitted a complaint, said he was told he was terminated for violating a policy by recording an interaction at work. But, he said, “I believe I got fired because of retaliation. I also believe I was discriminated against,” citing his disability after getting a kidney transplant.

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

The NLRB said the charges are being investigated.

It’s not the first Amazon facility in metro Atlanta to see labor activity.

Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Stone Mountain held a walkout during Amazon’s Prime Day sale event last week, protesting working conditions and seeking higher wages. There have also been complaints filed over the last month with the NLRB against Amazon’s Stone Mountain facility, contending that the company created “the impression of surveillance of employees’ union activities” and interrogated employees about their union activities.

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

Credit: arvin.temkar@ajc.com

United for Respect says it is not seeking to unionize the Amazon facility in East Point, but unions have sought to organize Amazon workers in other locations around the country. The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has been pushing for contract improvements at UPS as a way to demonstrate to Amazon workers what it can accomplish. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union has tried to organize workers at an Amazon facility in Bessemer, Alabama. It lost a unionization vote last year, and has challenged the results.

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Another labor group, the Amazon Labor Union, won a unionization vote at a Staten Island, New York, facility earlier this year in the first ever successful organizing effort at an Amazon facility in the United States. But then the union lost a vote at another warehouse nearby on Staten Island, and on Tuesday lost a unionization bid at an Amazon warehouse near Albany, New York.