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Amazon workers are planning a Prime Day protest

Key Points
  • Amazon workers in Minnesota are planning a six-hour strike on Prime Day.
  • The disruption could empower workers at other Amazon facilities to take a stand and do the same.
Packing worker Hashmat Zubair fills a delivery box with products at the Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore, Maryland, April 30, 2019. R
Clodagh Kilcoyne | Reuters

Amazon employees in Minnesota are planning a strike on Prime Day this year, as the company is promoting its faster delivery options but not giving its workers enough credit, they say.

Workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota, have plotted to stop working for six hours on July 15, when the 48-hour Prime Day extravaganza kicks off. Bloomberg first reported on this Monday after speaking with one of the people organizing the strike.

Some engineers are planning to fly into Minnesota to join the strike, the report said. Activists there are going to be pushing Amazon to take action against things like climate change and giving more temporary workers the option to become full time, it said.

In the past, Amazon has dealt with more worker retaliation in Europe, where labor unions have greater power. Last year's Prime Day was met with a massive strike by European employees that included workers in Spain, Poland, Germany, Italy and France.

In the Minnesota facility, workers, who are primarily East African Muslims, had been growing increasingly frustrated with Amazon not acknowledging their religious practices. Bloomberg reported organizers there ultimately were able to push Amazon to give workers lighter quotas during Ramadan and space for prayer. But they still think the labor conditions are too intense overall, it said.

Though Amazon has raised its minimum wage for all U.S. employees to $15 per hour, the company has still been a target for its reportedly poor working conditions.

An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC in an email: "The fact is Amazon offers already what this outside organization is asking for. We provide great employment opportunities with excellent pay – ranging from $16.25-$20.80 an hour, and comprehensive benefits including health care, up to 20 weeks parental leave, paid education, promotional opportunities, and more. We encourage anyone to compare our pay, benefits, and workplace to other retailers and major employers in the Shakopee community and across the country – and we invite anyone to see for themselves by taking a tour of the facility."

The disruption on July 15, though it's just planned for one area of the country, could empower other Amazon facilities to take a stand and do the same.

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