Amazon suspends Staten Island workers who held impromptu strike

Amazon responded quickly to the spontaneous strike at its unionized Staten Island warehouse. The company and the workers have agreed CNN that some 50 workers at JFK8 were suspended from pay after occupying the human resources office and refusing to work in allegedly unsafe conditions following a ship dock fire. One of the workers, Connor Spence, said the suspension will continue while Amazon investigates the work stoppage.

We reached out to Amazon for comment. In a statement to CNN, a spokesman said there was a “small fire” in a cardboard compactor and that night shift workers (including those who had attended the protest) were told to report to their usual shifts after firefighters said the camp was safe . The “vast majority” of workers complied, Amazon said. Day shift team members were sent home with pay.

The suspensions will do nothing to defuse the conflict between Amazon and workers at JFK8, the company’s only unionized warehouse. In May, Amazon fired several senior managers in a move employees claimed was retaliation for the labor organization’s efforts. There are also broader tensions within the company. Workers at several American warehouses have pushed for unionization (albeit with limited success), while Amazon has been accused of using anti-union tactics.

The affected employees do not necessarily lose their jobs. However, it signals that Amazon does not want to tolerate work stoppages, even when a union is present.

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