Amazon has reportedly fired more than six senior managers who participated in a warehouse consortium in New York.
The New York Times reported that the dismissals, which occurred outside the company’s employee review cycle, were seen as the company’s response to the Amazon workers union that formed on Staten Island last month in a “historic victory” against the country’s second-largest employer, citing former and current employees who spoke on the condition that no reveal their identity.
The New York Times reported that most of the managers who were fired were responsible for implementing Amazon’s response to the unions’ efforts. According to their LinkedIn profiles reviewed by The Times, some of the managers have been with the company for more than six years.
Amazon said the changes were made after evaluating the “operations and leadership” of the warehouse for several weeks.
“Part of our culture at Amazon is continuous improvement, and we believe it is important to take the time to review whether or not we are doing our best for our team,” the spokesperson said.
Two employees told the newspaper that the managers were fired due to an “organizational change”. One said that some managers had recently received positive performance reviews.
In April, Amazon workers at a Staten Island warehouse voted by a majority to form a union. This victory represented the first successful US regulatory effort in the company’s history. Regulators have faced an uphill battle against Amazon, which now employs more than a million people in the United States and is doing its best to keep unions away.
Christian Smalls, who heads the Amazon workers union, said on Twitter that he met President Joe Biden shortly after he harshly criticized Amazon during his testimony at a Senate hearing Thursday.
Pro-union workers have been seeking longer breaks, paid time off for injured employees and an hourly wage of $30, up from the minimum of just over $18 an hour offered by the company. The estimated median wage for the area is $41 an hour, according to a similar analysis by the U.S. Census Bureau of median household income of $85,381 in Staten Island.
Amazon said it is investing in wages and benefits, such as health care, 401(k) plans and a prepaid college tuition program to help grow workers’ jobs.
“As a company, we don’t believe unions are the best answer for our employees,” a company spokesperson said following the union win. “Our focus remains on working directly with our team to continue making Amazon a great place to work.”
Earlier this week, Amazon warehouse workers at a second Staten Island warehouse overwhelmingly rejected a union offer, dealing a blow to regulators who pulled out of the Staten Island union last month.
Organizers said they lost some support in the warehouse after running for elections in February because they directed more energy into a nearby facility that voted to join a union last month. There were also fewer regulators who worked at this facility—about 10, compared to about 30 employees at the Staten Island warehouse.
The same obstacles that hit the effort the first time around, including Amazon’s aggressive anti-union tactics, are back. In the run-up to the election, Amazon continued to hold mandatory meetings to persuade its workers to reject union efforts, published anti-union leaflets and launched a website urging workers to “vote no.”
“At the moment, ALU is trying to reconcile our relationship with you,” reads a post on the website. “They think they can do a better job of defending you than you do yourself.”