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Thu May 10, 2012
Warehouse workers protest at Amazon corporate offices
Amazon will be having its annual shareholder meeting in Seattle on May 24 and Seattle area unions are gearing up. Today, they staged a protest in the plaza below Amazon's new headquarters buildings in the South Lake Union neighborhood.
It was something of a forerunner to a rally planned for the upcoming meeting. Several union activists carried signs that read,
"Hello, Amazon, see you on May 24."
Local unions in Seattle want the non-union on-line retailer to improve working conditions for warehouse workers and agree to a "Warehouse Workers Bill of Rights." The unions paid for two warehouse workers to fly in from Allentown, Pennsylvania for the lunchtime rally. Last September, stories surfaced about harsh conditions at the Amazon warehouse there.
Jim Herbold, who worked in the warehouse picking up items to be shipped, says people would be let go for not meeting constantly increasing production goals.
“They treated me and everyone there like a tool, when it went dull they just threw you away and brought someone else in. They know the way the economy is they can just throw you away and bring somebody else in,” he said.
Another former worker, Karen Salasky, says it sometimes got up to 115 degrees inside the warehouse.
"They made you feel that everything you did, if you passed out in front of them, it was your fault. It was always your fault,” she said.
Amazon did not return a phone call request for comment.