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Shakopee Amazon Warehouse Workers To Strike On 'Prime Day'

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Amazon is offering deals to its Prime members next Monday and Tuesday. Prime Day last year was the biggest global shopping event in company history.

Billions of dollars will likely be spent again this year, but the deals can sometimes come at a cost for some Amazon employees.

Amazon Prime Day is a 48-hour event packed with more than a million deals promising savings on just about anything you can imagine.

The promise of two-day, one-day or even same-day shipping can be enticing for customers, but it can be tough on workers at fulfillment centers like the one in Shakopee.

"I started out with a really large group of about 70 workers and I think there are only about five of us left, and that was a year and seven months ago," said Meg Brady, a fulfillment associate at Amazon's Shakopee warehouse location.

Brady will be protesting with about 100 of her Shakopee Amazon warehouse coworkers on Monday. Employees will sit out for six hours on one of the company's most demanding days. Brady is prepared to lose her job over the walkout.

"There's always a risk when you take this kind of action and I understand that," Brady said.

The group wants safe, reliable jobs among other things. Brady says she is mostly satisfied with her pay and benefits, but her quota of handling 600 items per hour is less than ideal.

"I think the quotas lead to a lot of problems. They lead to quality issues, they lead to repetitive stress injuries," Brady said.

Brady has been out of work since late May due to a stress fracture on her foot. She says the repetitive physical nature of her work at Amazon caused the injury. Now, she's on short-term disability.

"It's really hard," Brady said.

Amazon says it constantly looks for ways to make work safe for employees. In a statement, Amazon said, in part, "We encourage anyone to compare our pay, benefits, and workplace to other retailers and major employers in the Shakopee community and across the country – and we invite anyone to see for themselves by taking a tour of the facility."

Spokesperson Brenda Alfred said, in part, "We support people who are not performing to the levels expected with dedicated coaching to help them improve."

"We place enormous value on daily conversations directly with each associate, challenging leadership assumptions," Alfred said in a statement. "Associates provide innovative ideas to improve the work environment, the ergonomics of work stations, and help find new ways to keep equipment and work areas clean and safe."

Brady hopes the company will do its part to improve in response to Monday's protest.

"Management, they demand the best from their workers and now we want their best," said Brady.

There is a small group of Amazon tech employees coming all the way from Seattle to join the protest. They are standing in solidarity with the warehouse workers and are also pushing the company to take action on climate change.

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