Amazon continues to struggle with worker discontent in the Minneapolis area.
A group of Amazon employees protested outside the Eagan, Minnesota, warehouse Thursday morning. The Eagan protest was to raise concerns about working conditions and a lack of parking at the location, which has resulted in Amazon towing workers cars off its lot, according to the Awood Center, a local advocacy organization.
Awood said later Thursday that Amazon agreed to the workers’ requests after they walked out for over 2 hours. The company agreed to repay employees for towing their cars, provide more parking and recognize the upcoming Eid holiday for Muslim employees, Awood said in an email.
The protest comes less than a month after workers at a nearby Shakopee warehouse held a protestto push for safer conditions and a more manageable pace of work. Now the Minneapolis area has become a center for Amazon worker activism, aided by Awood, a local group that’s been helping organize these protests. Other protests in the area were also held in December and March.
Amazon has often pointed to its $15 minimum wage, retraining programs and benefits package to show its efforts to help its workers. It also says it provides a safe working environment.
“We have been working to support the site, including providing onsite parking, offsite parking and shuttles. We’re committed to listening to our teams, and will continue to find parking solutions to support the site,” an Amazon spokesperson said in an emailed statement earlier Thursday.
Amazon worker protests tend to be rare in the US, where Amazon employees aren’t unionized. Outside of the Minneapolis area, these protests haven’t caught on. Worker demonstrations are far more common in Europe, where worker protections are stronger and Amazon warehouse employees often protest during major shopping events like Black Friday.
William Stolz, a Shakopee warehouse worker who’s helped organize protests there, didn’t attend Thursday’s demonstration but offered his support.
“The problems are everywhere, all across Amazon, but it just depends whether workers believe whether standing together they can win the changes they need,” he said about why the protests were going on around Minneapolis. “In Minnesota I think we’ve showed if we can keep the pressure on, we can win the changes we need.”
First published at 9:17 a.m. PT.
Updated at 6:11 p.m. PT: Adds more information from the Awood Center.