Former Amazon Worker Claims He Was Fired For Union Organizing
Photo Credit: SWANSEA, WALES - NOVEMBER 13: A general view inside the Amazon fulfillment centre as workers gear up for Black Friday and Christmas on November 13, 2018 in Swansea, Wales. The Amazon fulfillment centre in Swansea, which opened in 2007, is one of 17 in the UK and employs a permanent staff of 1200 employees - an additional 1000 seasonal employees will be recruited to help with the Christmas rush. The site is over 800,000 square foot, equivalent in size to 11 football pitches. The company was founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994 and reached a market cap of $1 trillion in September. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)

Former Amazon Worker Claims He Was Fired For Union Organizing

Vanessa Taylor

Vanessa Taylor. Mar 25, 2019.

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.