Workers at three warehouses in the New York City and Washington D.C. metro areas walked off the night shift on Wednesday. They have put in a coordinated effort to press their demand of $3 per hour increase in their wages. Moreover, they are also demanding reinstatement of 20-minute rest breaks.

Night-shift workers at two warehouses in New York and one warehouse in Maryland walked out in protest. The protesting workers join a growing trend of employee activism at Amazon. Moreover, the e-commerce giant is facing union elections at their facilities in Albama and New York.

Rising costs and inflationary pressures

In wake of the rising living costs, the workers are demanding for higher wages and better working conditions. Inflation in United States is at a high. The workers told Vice they are seeking a $3 hourly increase to their wages. Currently, the wages range from $15.75 to $17.25. Striking workers say their wages of roughly $15.75-17.25 an hour is not enough to survive with this year’s rapidly inflated prices.

Demand for reinstatement of 20-miunutes break

The workers also have a second demand of reinstatement of 20-minutes break. Amazon brought in 20-minute breaks as a pandemic measure to allow workers more time to adhere to rules such as social distancing. However, they have cut back 15 minutes break which were previously allotted.

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    More than 60 workers walked out across the three warehouses. “We shut down the belt, did some chants, wrote on the [internal messaging] board, and were greeted by a crowd of DBK1 workers and solidarity supporters outside,” Ellie Pfeffer, a warehouse associate in Long Island City expressed his views in a statement.

    Amazon’s Stance

    However, Amazon is negating the views of the striking employees. “We’re proud to offer industry leading pay, competitive benefits, and the opportunity for all to grow within the company. While there are many established ways of ensuring we hear the opinions of our employees inside our business, we also respect the right for some to make their opinions known externally.” Kelly Nantel, director of national media relations at Amazon said in a statement.

    The strikes took place at Amazon delivery stations which is the smallest type of warehouse. In addition, it sometimes employs only a few hundred workers and run much smaller shifts. Moreover, Amazon packages are loaded onto vans for delivery to customers’ houses.

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