A handful of workers and their advocates held a rally Monday to complain about working conditions at Amazon’s delivery station in Eagan.
Speaking through an interpreter, the workers said loading packages into vans and cars for same-day delivery orders used to be shared by two people but was reduced to one person a couple of months ago. They said that’s caused minor injuries involving heavy boxes.
They also said it’s too hot in the building, a complaint shared publicly by workers at other Amazon centers around the U.S. Their working areas have fans but no air-conditioning.
Because Muslims fast during Ramadan, the heat and other conditions are compounded, they said. One worker, Nimo Hirad, said she had to break her fast to drink water.
In a statement, Amazon said it provides a “positive and accommodating workplace” at the delivery station in Eagan and pays workers more than $15 an hour.
“The site is equipped with air conditioning in the break areas and fans throughout the building,” the statement said. “We respect the religious practices of employees and offer accommodations as needed. We have a temporary prayer room at this location and are in the process of building a permanent one.”
At the fulfillment center in Shakopee, Amazon has reserved a conference room as a prayer room and has provided prayer mats for workers, the company has said. That building has also shifted break times during its night shift to accommodate prayer times during Ramadan.
The news conference was organized by Awood Center, a Minneapolis-based organization that supports East African workers. The protesters handed a list of their demands to Christopher Warren, the delivery station’s general manager.
“I respect our workers,” he told the group. “We’ll take this to the powers that be and we’ll go from there.”
He declined further comment.Deqa Mohamad, who has worked at the Eagan facility for over a year, said beyond the group’s complaints, she likes working for Amazon.
“We support our families with this work that we do,” Mohamad said. “We just want these concerns to be addressed and something to be done about it.”