Amazon settles with tech workers fired for Corona virus, climate criticism

Filed under: Labor,News |

SEATTLE — Amazon settled a long-running dispute with two former tech workers it fired after they criticized the company for its climate policies and warehouse safety record, avoiding a hearing that would have put a spotlight on strained relations with some employees.

The e-commerce giant was set to face Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa in a hearing before the National Labor Relations Board this week over claims that Amazon violated labor law by retaliating against the workers for their criticism even though it was a protected activity.

Lawyers representing Amazon and the two fired workers said in a hearing Wednesday before the case was to begin that they had reached an agreement.

In a joint statement posted on Twitter, Cunningham and Costa said they were “thrilled” to have settled, adding that Amazon will pay them, though they didn’t disclose the amount.

“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,” the women wrote. “Amazon will be required to pay us 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.”

Amazon spokesman Jose Negrete declined to disclose details of the settlement, saying in an emailed statement that the company “reached a mutual agreement that resolves the legal issues in this case and welcome[s] the resolution of this matter.”

Just as the firing of the workers could have chilled other Amazon employees from speaking out, a settlement, depending on its terms, could embolden more employees to criticize the e-commerce giant. Had Cunningham and Costa prevailed in the NLRB matter, a ruling could have forced the company to pay back wages and reinstate them.


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