Amazon was due to defend its decision in court to release Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa last year. Former Amazon employees were outspoken critics of the company, and both were, previously ruled by the National Labor Relations Council (NLRB), fired illegally. The e-commerce giants did not have to defend themselves, because they agreed with the affected parties just before the hearing could take place.
Cunningham and Costa, who worked on the user experience design, openly criticized Amazon’s climate policies and workplace practices. Earlier, they criticized the company’s climate policy video which attracted national attention. And before they were fired in April 2020, they both announced on Twitter that they would pay donations of up to $ 500 to support colleagues from the warehouse. Cunningham he said the “lack of safe and sanitary working conditions” puts workers and the public in danger while Costa tweeted that workers “struggle to get consistent, sufficient protection and procedures from the employer”.
When the news broke, Amazon said that they were released because of violations of internal policies, namely because of talking about the company without prior approval, and not because they talked about working conditions. The NLRB investigated allegations that Amazon had retaliated against its employees for organizing or participating in protests and found that Cunningham and Costa had been fired illegally.
According to Washington Post, the settlement has yet to be approved by the NLRB regional director in Seattle, although Cunningham and Costa already consider the settlement a victory. U joint statement, they said the development was a “victory to protect workers’ rights” and that Amazon would have to pay lost wages. The whole statement reads:
“We are delighted to announce that we have reached an agreement to resolve the charge against Amazon at the National Labor Relations Committee (NLRB) which states that the company fired us illegally because we talked about the conditions of warehouse workers during COVID. This is a victory for protecting workers ’rights and showing that we were right to fight for each other, for justice and for our world.Amazon will have to pay our lost wages and send a notice to all its technical and warehousing workers across the country that Amazon cannot lay off workers for organizing and the exercise of their rights.
It is also not lost that we are two women who were the target of the shooting. Inequality, racism and sexism are at the heart of both climate crises and pandemics.
The technical workers who stand together have tremendous power to run the largest corporations in the world. Climate chaos threatens everything we love. Workers in every company must work together for each other and for the world. Now is the time to be the best, the bravest. We can only do this together. We hope you will join us. “
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