Justin Rashad Long — a former worker at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in Bloomfield — has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) accusing the company of unfair labor practices, as reported by Silive.
Last month, Long was fired by one of his managers for a “safety violation.” However, in his complaint, Long claimed that the real reason for his firing was that he was involved in organizing around Amazon’s poor working conditions.
An Amazon spokeswoman maintains that Long’s allegations are false, according to Silive, stating, “His employment was terminated for violating a serious safety policy.”
Amazon is no stranger to allegations regarding unsafe working conditions. In May of 2018, Business Insider reported the “horror stories” of Amazon workers. Some claims included workers urinating in trash cans because they didn’t have time to go to the bathroom.
The Bloomfield is the first New York-based fulfillment center in Staten Island. Months after it opened, workers announced a union push. Their concerns were also based around working conditions, according to the Guardian.
They received assistance from the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, whose president Stuart Appelbaum told The Guardian that Amazon has a record of “routinely mistreating and exploiting its workers.”
Retaliation from corporations is a major concern for labor organizers, and Amazon is aggressively anti-union. For example, the company sent a 45-minute union-busting video to Whole Foods managers after hearing rumors of potential organizing.
With that in mind, Long’s claims aren’t far-fetched. The RWDSU plans to continue supporting Long and other Amazon workers, according to Silive.
If Amazon workers across the country unionize, it will certainly mean big changes for the company, and if past complaints around working conditions carry any weight, it seems that change is long overdue.