Dec. 18, 2019 By Kristen Torres
A Queens lawmaker held a rally Monday outside the new Amazon distribution center in Woodside, arguing that the e-commerce giant has a history of subjecting its employees to poor work conditions.
State Senator Jessica Ramos joined local labor groups on Dec. 16 outside the new facility, which opened in July, and is located at 1 Bulova Ave. They don’t want the Woodside facility to be in operation until the company improves its labor standards.
“It’s truly a shame that one of the world’s wealthiest corporations subjects its hardest working laborers to such cruel workplace conditions,” Ramos said in a statement.
The protest took place the same day as the release of a new report that revealed that worker injuries at Amazon warehouses have historically spiked during the holiday season, between Black Friday and Christmas.
The report, dubbed “Packaging Pain,” was based off Amazon’s own injury logs and produced by the Athena Coalition — an organization made up of labor rights groups across the country.
“It’s time for Amazon to respect the workers that make it one of the world’s biggest retailers and staples of holiday shopping and take meaningful action to eliminate hazards from its warehouses,” said Deborah Axt, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, which is part of the coalition, in a statement.
The report found the week of Dec. 10 to 16 to historically be the most dangerous week of the year for workers in Amazon’s distribution centers.
“There is a huge increase in injuries at Amazon facilities during ‘peak’ season in November and December,” according to a statement released by Make the Road New York. “Standard shifts increase from 10 hours per day to 11 or 12 hours per day and time off is severely restricted.”
The report called on Amazon officials to implement safer practices to reduce the risk of worker injury, provide adequate medical care to injured employees and increase break times for workers.
A website was also launched alongside the report, providing detailed information on injury statistics at individual Amazon facilities.
“As many of us enjoy the holiday season, we must keep in mind the thousands of Amazon workers who are enduring life-altering injuries while trying to keep up with the holiday rush,” Ramos said. “We need to provide relief from the brutal demands of their jobs immediately.”