Amazon is well known for its sprawling Fulfillment Centers and the lackluster working conditions therein, but just as important to its logistics operations are its delivery hubs—smaller, and often staffed heavily with part-time workers. Likely emboldened by the flurry of labor actions at the infamous Shakopee fulfillment center 30 minutes West, 80 of those part-timers went on strike outside an Eagan, Minnesota, delivery center on Thursday.
What makes this an unusual protest though is that these workers aren’t specifically angry about the safety and pace of work, or issues of religious freedom as at other such actions. They’re mad about parking.
“Our shift starts at 7:30 and some of us are here at 6:15 and we’re not able to get parking,” Satuna, a part-timer at DMS1 who did not want to provide her full name, told Gizmodo. Part-time shifts at Amazon tend to be only around four hours, making the alleged hour-and-change spent trying to just get inside and start work all the more egregious. She said the issue has been ongoing for at least three or four months but that attempts to bring it up with management or human resources have been ignored. Satuna added, “when they ignore us, we have to speak up.”
The breaking point came more recently, when, according to Satuna, workers were told that their cars—which are sometimes double-parked just to be able to start their shifts—would be towed and fined $350 if there were in the way of vans and shuttles that also use the lot. “We don’t even make $350 a week,” she said. During the course of our phone call, a shuttle pulled up and its driver allegedly began to argue with the crowd over where to park the vehicle.
While many of the actions at the Shakopee facility have been one-day protests, according to Satuna, this group will “definitely not go back to work until they make a change.”
Update 11:12am: A representative with Awood Center contacted Gizmodo shortly after this story published, stating Amazon had assented to the workers’ demands, and have agreed to buy up additional parking space on the opposite side of Highway 55 and provide the ability for workers to punch in at the overflow site so they aren’t penalized for the lack of proximate parking. According to Awood Center, Amazon have also agreed to repay any towing fees workers have incurred.
A representative for Amazon told Gizmodo that “We have been working to support the site, including providing onsite parking, offsite parking and shuttles” but declined to confirm the specific changes Awood claimed on-site management had committed to.
Updated to include a statement from Amazon