A union organizer at Amazon who testified before a Senate committee has been terminated by the company, according to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
The union says Jennifer Bates is dealing with injuries she received while working at Amazon and that her termination comes shortly after reaching three years of service with the company.
RWDSU said Bates led the charge speaking out against workplace safety issues at Amazon, and what it calls failures by the company to treat workers with respect and their desire to unionize in Bessemer, Alabama, the first Amazon warehouse to file for a union election.
The union said Bates, who has also testified in Washington at a hearing on income inequality, recently took workers compensation leave at Amazon’s recommendation in order to tend to her injuries. When she returned to work, Amazon refused to make adjustments to her work schedule and work type despite repeated doctors’ letters and review by Amazon’s “Wellness Center,” according to RWDSU. Bates continued to deal with her injuries and was sent home by the company. After returning a second time, Bates learned her access to the AtoZ app was disabled. She has appealed her termination but has yet to hear back from the company.
Bates worked at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, where some workers organized the biggest unionization push at the company since it was founded in 1995. Amazon has a history of crushing unionizing efforts at its warehouses and its Whole Foods grocery stores.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment.