- Amazon.com Inc. illegally fired two employees who advocated for better working conditions during the pandemic, the National Labor Relations Board has found.
The online retailer terminated the employment of Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, who accused the company of enforcing policies in a vague fashion and having discriminatory rules that restrict and chill staff from exercising rights, according to their charge filed in October, seen by Reuters.
The board announced on Monday that its regional director in Seattle will make a complaint if the parties do not settle the case.
The decision comes at a delicate moment for Amazon as it awaits the outcome of its Bessemer, Alabama, workers' vote on whether to make their warehouse the first new unionized facility in the country.
Cunningham and Costa, who gained prominence for pushing Amazon to do more on climate change, questioned about a year ago about the possibility of contracting COVID 19- 20 and worked to raise money for warehouse staff at risk of contracting Cunningham and Costa.
In a statement, Amazon said it supports workers' right to criticize work conditions, but that doing so does not absolve staff of breaking lawful rules. We terminated these employees not for constantly talking about working conditions, safety or sustainability, but rather for violating internal policies, it said.
On Monday Amazon did not specify what these policies were, Costa did not comment immediately.
Marc Perrone, international president of the UFCW union whose local unit helped file the charge, said in a statement: Today is a reminder that Amazon will break the law to silence its own workers who speak out. The New York Times reported the news previously.