[This fragment is available in an audio version.]
It was just a minor story in the business section, nothing front-page. But when I heard (earlier in the day, from an insider), the news was cathartic; I had to stand up and take a walk. Summary: Amazon was about to find itself in court with the US National Labor Relations Board over the firing of Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa; the event that caused me to walk away from the best job I ever had and a whole lot of money. On September 29th, Amazon avoided that trial by signing a humiliating out-of-court settlement. Which is to say, that particular firing spree was not only unethical and stupid, it was probably illegal.
If it’d gone to trial, I’d have been a witness. I wasn’t looking forward to that.
Which is really about all I have to say. No, wait; some of you might not follow a link to Emily and Maren’s statement, so here it is:
Statement from Maren Costa and Emily Cunningham
We are thrilled to announce that we have reached an agreement to settle the charge against Amazon at the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleging that the company illegally fired us for speaking up about warehouse workers' conditions during COVID. This is a win for protecting workers rights, and shows that we were right to stand up for each other, for justice, and for our world. Amazon will be required to pay us our lost wages and post a notice to all of its tech and warehouse workers nationwide that Amazon can't fire workers for organizing and exercising their rights.
It’s also not lost on us that we are two women who were targeted for firing. Inequality, racism, and sexism are at the heart of both the climate crisis and the pandemic.
Tech workers standing up together have immense power to move the biggest corporations in the world. Everything we love is threatened by climate chaos. Workers at every company need to be standing up for each other and the world, together. Now is the time to be our best, bravest selves. We can only do this together. We hope you’ll join us.
Strong work, Emily and Maren!
I wonder what else might be going on involving the NLRB and the other activists they fired in the early days of Covid, for example Courtney Bowden, Gerald Bryson, Bashir Mohammed, and Chris Smalls?