Amazon workers at the MSP1 fulfillment center in Shakopee rallied outside the building the evening of Dec. 8, advocating for worker safety, climate justice and better pay.
The rally was organized by Amazon workers alongside the Awood Center, a nonprofit supporting Minnesota’s East African community, and TakeAction Minnesota, an organization “advancing justice and equity through organizing, policy and campaigns.”
Around 150 people gathered in support of this initiative, with multiple Amazon workers speaking that evening.
“When it comes to safety and when it comes to the job, it’s like they don’t care,” Amazon employee Khali Jama said about working at MSP1.
Jama, who has worked at the Shakopee warehouse for nearly a year, spoke at the Thursday rally to address her biggest concerns.
She said worker safety became a primary concern for her early on at Amazon but added that she has especially felt these worries around the holiday season, saying that workers are currently expected to work 60 hours a week through the end of the year.
She also alleged that she and other coworkers have experienced instances where they have been required to continue working despite feeling ill or in pain.
In addition to increased safety, she said other goals are the elimination of Amazon’s TOT — “Time Off Tasks” — policy, a rule that looks to maintain high productivity among workers. TOT and current workload quotas, Jama said, have created unrealistic expectations and a dangerous and stressful work environment.
Climate justice was also a focus of the rally, largely due to the work of TakeAction Minnesota.
“What was special about this rally was introducing an additional line of corporate campaigning around the climate crisis,” TakeAction Senior Climate Organizer Jesse Meisenhelter said. “Amazon is in a moment where it’s expanding across our state, and it’s becoming a larger and larger decision maker — not just in what the quality of work looks like in Minnesota but also quality of life. And with that expansion comes responsibility to take meaningful action.”
In a prepared statement provided to the Valley News, Amazon spokesperson Barbara Agrait said the company is always looking to improve but is proud of its wages, benefits and “safe work experience.”
“Despite a small demonstration initiated by outside activists, the overwhelming majority of our employees at our fulfillment in Shakopee, MN continued to do what they do every day, deliver for our customers. As always, we’re grateful to our team for their hard work and commitment,” Agrait said.
Looking ahead, Jama said she plans to help develop additional rallies and events alongside coworkers that will highlight worker advocacy, especially given similar rallies and walkouts emerging from other Amazon warehouses around the country.
“It’s not only in Minnesota. It’s happening all throughout the United States. A lot of facilities are doing walkouts,” Jama said. “I just want the government and people to see that we are not the ones who are doing wrong. We are getting wronged.”
Jama added that a goal further down the line is to possibly form a union at MSP1, but for now she is just appreciative of those who participated in last week’s rally.
“I appreciate all the people that came out,” Jama said. “What I want to get out of this is justice — justice for human rights.”