The National Labour Relations Board (NLRB), the U.S. agency that oversees and enforces labor laws sided with 2 illegally fired Amazon workers, Ms. Cunningham and Ms. Costa, who were let go last year after repeatedly expressing concerns over the Covid safety practices at work.
The two women, who used to work as user experience designers at Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle, have been vocal about the issue and repeatedly requested better working conditions in Amazon warehouses during the Covid-19 pandemic. Allegedly, a related call between the warehouse and office employees was scheduled to take place but the two were dismissed before the call in question could take place.
In a statement, Ms. Costa said: “I don’t regret standing up with my co-workers. This is about human lives, and the future of humanity.”
“It’s a moral victory and really shows that we are on the right side of history and the right side of the law,” Ms. Cunningham also told the New York Times.
“Getting fired from Amazon is one of the most meaningful things that has ever happened to me! “
In 2018, Ms. Cunningham and Ms. Costa started a petition for the e-commerce giant to do more about the company’s impact on the climate since so far it has shown “insufficient action on the climate crisis”. The Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ) group, as it is called, had the support of 8.700 members who signed an open letter to Jeff Bezos in which they urged him to “adopt the climate plan resolution and release a company-wide plan that incorporates the six principles” written in the letter.
“Getting fired from Amazon is one of the most meaningful things that has ever happened to me because of the priceless solidarity of countless others in Amazon Employees for Climate Justice who had our back, who have spoken out, walked out, and continue to do so, ” Ms. Costa tweeted yesterday.
The Amazon Warehouse “strict rules” were broken by Ms. Cunningham and Ms. Costa
However, in 2018 Amazon notified both Ms. Cunningham and Ms. Costa that they had violated the internal communications policy by publicly criticizing the company.
“We support every employee’s right to criticize their employer’s working conditions, but that does not come with blanket immunity against our internal policies, all of which are lawful,” Amazon spokesperson Jaci Anderson said in a statement.
NLRB has informed the two women that if Amazon refuses to settle the case, it will file a case against Amazon for unfair labor practices. Ms. Cunningham and Ms. Costa have not been the only ones to raise the issue of safety concerns in the Amazon facilities during the last year of the pandemic. Given the repeated accusations of unlawful labor practices at Amazon, the agency did not exclude the possibility of launching a national investigation into the company.