Amazon has reportedly fired over half a dozen senior managers who were involved in a New York warehouse union.
The firings, which took place outside the company’s employee review cycle, was regarded as the company’s response to the Amazon Labor Union which formed in Staten Island last month in a “historic victory” against the country’s second largest employer, the New York Times reported, citing former and current employees who spoke on the condition anonymity.
Most of the managers who were fired were responsible for carrying out Amazon’s response to the unionization efforts, the New York Times reported. According to their LinkedIn profiles that were reviewed by the Times, some of the managers were with the company for more than six years.
Amazon said the changes were made after evaluating the warehouse’s “operations and leadership” for several weeks.
“Part of our culture at Amazon is to continually improve, and we believe it’s important to take time to review whether or not we’re doing the best we could be for our team,” the spokesperson said.
The managers were being fired due to an “organizational change”, two employees told the Times. One said that some of the managers had recently received positive performance reviews.
In April, Amazon workers at the Staten Island warehouse voted in majority to form a union. The victory marked the first successful American organizing effort in the company’s history. Organizers have faced an uphill battle against Amazon, which now employs more than one million people in the US and is making every effort to keep unions out.
Christian Smalls, who heads the Amazon Labor Union, said on Twitter he had met with President Joe Biden shortly after he harshly criticized Amazon during his testimony at a Senate hearing on Thursday.
Pro-union workers were seeking longer breaks, paid time off for injured employees and an hourly wage of $30, up from a minimum of just over $18 per hour offered by the company. The estimated average wage for the borough is $41 per hour, according to a similar US Census Bureau analysis of Staten Island’s $85,381 median household income.
Amazon has said they invest in wages and benefits, such as health care, 401(k) plans and a prepaid college tuition program to help grow workers’ careers.
“As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees,” a spokesperson said following the union win. “Our focus remains on working directly with our team to continue making Amazon a great place to work.”
Earlier this week, Amazon warehouse workers at a second Staten Island warehouse overwhelmingly rejected a union bid, dealing a blow to organizers who pulled off the Staten Island union last month.
Organizers said they had lost some support at the warehouse after filing for an election in February because they directed more energy to the nearby facility that voted to unionize last month. There were also fewer organizers who worked in this facility – roughly 10, compared to the nearly 30 employed at the Staten Island warehouse.
The same obstacles that plagued the effort the first time, including Amazon‘s aggressive anti-union tactics, were at play again. In the lead-up to the election, Amazon continued to hold mandatory meetings to persuade its workers to reject the union effort, posted anti-union flyers and launched a website urging workers to “vote NO”.
“Right now, the ALU is trying to come between our relationship with you,” a post on the website reads. “They think they can do a better job advocating for you than you are doing for yourself.”
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