Amazon Worker Fired After Organizing a Walkout

Amazon Worker Fired After Organizing a Walkout

Whole Foods and Amazon employees have been speaking out about the lack of protections and PPE they’ve received since the start of this pandemic. Since an organized walkout this week, worker frustrations are coming to a culmination.

Earlier this week, an Amazon warehouse worker in New York helped organized a walkout—and was soon fired. Amazon and Whole Food workers—both managed by Amazon—have been calling for better sick paid leave policies, better pay, safer protections at work and more flexibility from managers. While Amazon claims it has gone to extensive measures to provide what it can, many workers do not think it’s enough.

On Monday, March 30, a group of workers walked off the job at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, and a sickout called by Whole Foods Market workers also occurred on Tuesday week. They were protesting what they see as inadequate safety measures and insufficient pay for the risks they confront, according to a New York Times article.

Amazon fired one of the workers who led the Staten Island walkout.

Delivery service workers and grocery store workers are among those individuals not only asked to go to work during the pandemic, but they are working overtime to keep up with the nonstop demand for groceries, online orders and other materials. Healthcare workers, postal service workers and cleaning personnel are two other groups that face increased risk to the virus while many Americans have either lost their jobs or are working from home.

This pandemic has highlighted the differences in social status and economic inequality in the country right now. While many white-collar workers can work from home—answering calls and emails and using webcast meetings—many blue collar workers (like those listed above) have continued to report to work, putting themselves and their families at heightened risk.

Christian Smalls, the Staten Island worker who was fired, said he had advised a colleague who was visibly ill to go home last week. She later tested positive for the virus.

Smalls has told management that the center should close for two weeks because there was no way to tell how many other workers had been infected. Other employees on the site had reported symptoms like fever.

Not long after the protest, Smalls was fired, and an Amazon spokeswoman said he had been let go because he had violated social-distancing guidelines and had come to the site Monday after having been told to stay home.

While Amazon admits no correlation between Smalls’ firing and the protest or his management concerns, the state of New York does not see it as such. New York’s attorney general, Letitia James, called the firing “disgraceful” on Twitter, and said she would ask the National Labor Relations Board to investigate.

Download Center

  • Safety Metrics Guide

    Is your company leveraging its safety data and analytics to maintain a safe workplace? With so much data available, where do you start? This downloadable guide will give you insight on helpful key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track for your safety program.

  • Job Hazard Analysis Guide

    This guide includes details on how to conduct a thorough Job Hazard Analysis, and it's based directly on an OSHA publication for conducting JHAs. Learn how to identify potential hazards associated with each task of a job and set controls to mitigate hazard risks.

  • A Guide to Practicing “New Safety”

    Learn from safety professionals from around the world as they share their perspectives on various “new views” of safety, including Safety Differently, Safety-II, No Safety, Human and Organizational Performance (HOP), Resilience Engineering, and more in this helpful guide.

  • Lone Worker Safety Guide

    As organizations digitalize and remote operations become more commonplace, the number of lone workers is on the rise. These employees are at increased risk for unaddressed workplace accidents or emergencies. This guide was created to help employers better understand common lone worker risks and solutions for lone worker risk mitigation and incident prevention.

  • EHS Software Buyer's Guide

    Learn the keys to staying organized, staying sharp, and staying one step ahead on all things safety. This buyer’s guide is designed for you to use in your search for the safety management solution that best suits your company’s needs.

  • Vector Solutions

Featured Whitepaper

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - July August 2022

    July / August 2022


      Specific PPE is Needed for Entry and Exit
      Three Quick Steps to Better HazCom Training
      Building a Chemical Emergency Toolkit
      The Last Line of Defense
    View This Issue