Amazon reportedly dismissed numerous senior managers who were part of “operations and leadership” at JFK8, the Staten Island, New York site that just voted to unionise. According to The New York Times, Amazon informed the managers that it was undergoing an “organisational change,” but some of their coworkers viewed it as retaliation for the union’s victory.
According to the New York Times, “more than a half-dozen” managers were fired, and many of them were entrusted with responding to unionisation attempts. What that means is ambiguous, and it might suggest that the managers were tasked with preventing the union from winning and were fired for failing to do so. However, it is also possible that the managers might have assisted the union in some way and are being dismissed as a result.
Amazon’s efforts in the run-up to the election, in which workers voted to unionise by a margin of 2,654 to 2,131, were criticised by both organisers and regulators. The corporation has been accused of union-busting, blocking employees from exercising their rights, and terminating employees in reprisal for organising. Amazon has filed an election challenge, alleging that the labour union and the National Labor Relations Board “suppressed and swayed” voters.
It is not uncommon for Amazon to fire ineffective staff. Amazon’s goal, according to a previous year’s report, is to terminate its lowest-performing employees each year, often with little notice. However, it appears that this is not the case here; according to the Times, some of them had just received positive feedback on their work, and the timing of the terminations does not correlate with Amazon’s performance review cycle.
Amazon, in a statement, told Engadget that it “spent time evaluating aspects of the operations and leadership at JFK8 and, as a result, have made some management changes.”