Fired Amazon workers spearhead coronavirus response 'sick out'

The Amazon employees taking part in the sick out won't come to work on Friday

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.

Continue Reading Below

Two fired Amazon employees are organizing a "sick out" for tech workers on Friday and are asking the company's warehouse employees to share about conditions amid the coronavirus pandemic on a livestream that day.

Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, both members of Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, lost their jobs last week after AECJ created an online meeting invitation for a discussion about warehouse conditions, the group said.

AMAZON FIRES TWO EMPLOYEES CRITICAL OF WAREHOUSE WORKING CONDITIONS

"We support every employee's right to criticize their employer's working conditions, but that does not come with blanket immunity against any and all internal policies," an Amazon spokesperson said. "We terminated these employees for repeatedly violating internal policies."

In 2019, AECJ pushed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to sign a corporate climate pledge to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement 10 years early. The group has since said the pledge is not enough.

Amazon employees hold a protest and walkout over conditions at the company's Staten Island distribution facility on March 30, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Cunningham and Costa were user-experience designers who worked in Seattle, according to Reuters. AECJ's focus on warehouse workers came after Amazon took heat for firing Chris Smalls, a New York warehouse employee who staged a small walkout. Amazon said Smalls lost his job for repeatedly violating paid quarantine.

"Amazon must not be allowed to censor internal conversations between employees," AECJ said in a post. "We are outraged that Amazon deleted a meeting invitation to prevent us from talking with our own coworkers about their working conditions. What is Amazon so afraid of?"

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE

AECJ's list of demands includes reinstating workers fired "based on selective enforcement," publicly disclosing how the company tracks and reports coronavirus cases and reaching zero emissions by 2030.

Other companies including Instacart and General Electric have faced contractor or employee action in the wake of coronavirus.

GET FOX BUSINESS ON THE GO BY CLICKING HERE