Dec. 10, 1019 By Kristen Torres
More than a dozen Queens lawmakers have signed on to a letter calling on the retail giant to improve working conditions in its factories.
The letter addressed to Amazon management comes just weeks after hundreds of New Yorkers protested the working conditions of Amazon’s mega fulfillment center in Staten Island, which employs about 2,000 workers. It also comes a number of months after Amazon opened a distribution center in Woodside.
State Comptroller Scott Stringer and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson are among those who signed the letter, stating that officials “continue to receive incredibly disturbing reports of dangerous working conditions in the Amazon Warehouse on Staten Island.”
“We will be watching to be sure that Amazon management responds supportively to address and remedy the workers’ concerns,” the lawmakers wrote.
A total of 42 elected officials—15 from Queens–signed on to show their support for Amazon employees, including Queens State Senators Michael Gianaris, Jessica Ramos and James Sanders.
Council Members Daneek Miller, Karen Koslowitz, Barry Grodenchik, Rory Lancman, Francisco Moya, Donovan Richards, Jimmy Van Bramer and Antonio Reynoso alongside Assembly Members Aravella Simotas, Nily Rozic, Catalina Cruz and Ron Kim also signed their names to the letter.
“It seems clear that some major changes may be necessary in your corporation. We urge you to treat workers, allies and community members bringing these concerns to your attention with respect and appreciation,” the letter continued.
A recent study of Amazon’s data by Make the Road New York and New York Communities for Change revealed that the Staten Island fulfillment center is more dangerous than other notoriously dangerous professions, such as coal mining and waste collection.
“The grueling costs of working in these Amazon warehouses have been widely reported, from the stories of workers foregoing bathroom breaks to hit their productivity rates, to staggering turnover rates, injuries, and deaths on the warehouse floor,” the report said.
The injury rate at the Staten Island center is nearly three times higher than the national industry average for warehouse work, according to the report.
Amazon opened its Woodside center in July, which is located at the former Bulova building at 26-15 Boody Street.
The company’s plans for a campus in Long Island City ended abruptly in February after heavy opposition from community members and elected officials.