Amazon workers in Minnesota stage another protest

Demonstrators shout slogans and hold placards during a protest at the Amazon fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota, in December 2018.

Kerem Yucel/Getty Images

Amazon continues to struggle with worker discontent in the Minneapolis area.

A group of Amazon employees protested outside the Eagan, Minnesota, warehouse Thursday morning, according to both Workday Minnesota, a labor publication, and Gizmodo. Though past protests have focused on allegedly poor workplace conditions, the Eagan protest was to raise concerns about a lack of parking at the warehouse. This is an issue because these workers’ cars can be towed and fined at a cost of hundreds of dollars for being double-parked, according to Gizmodo.

The protest comes less than a month after workers at a nearby Shakopee warehouse held a protest during Prime Day to push for safer conditions and a less-grueling pace of work. Now the Minneapolis area has become a central area for Amazon worker activism, aided by the Awood Center, a local advocacy group that’s been helping organize these protests. Other protests in the area were also held in December and March.

Amazon has often pointed to its $15 minimum wage, retraining programs and benefits package to show its efforts to help its workers. It also says it provides a safe working environment. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment for this story.

Amazon worker protests tend to be rare in the US, where Amazon employees aren’t unionized, and outside of the Minneapolis area, these protests haven’t caught on. Worker demonstrations are far more common in Europe, where worker protections are stronger and Amazon warehouse employees often protest during major shopping events like Black Friday.

William Stolz, a Shakopee warehouse worker who’s helped organize protests there, didn’t attend Thursday’s demonstration but confirmed it was going on.

“The problems are everywhere, all across Amazon, but it just depends whether workers believe whether standing together they can win the changes they need,” he said about why the protests were going on around Minneapolis. “In Minnesota I think we’ve showed if we can keep the pressure on, we can win the changes we need.”

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