Amazon employees petition for PTO on election day

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Amazon employees sign an internal petition calling on the company to give workers time to vote.The petition urges Amazon to give all of its U.S. workforce paid time off to vote on or before Election Day. Election day in the United States is Tuesday, November 3. Many states also allow voters to vote early at polling places before polling day.

On Tuesday evening, more than 4,000 tech workers signed the petition, which was submitted through Amazon’s internal ticketing system. Employees voted for the petition by marking “+1” or commenting below the post.

A number of US companies have given their employees time to vote, including Facebook, Apple, Uber, Twitter, Starbucks and Walmart. Amazon, with 876,000 employees worldwide in August, is the second largest private employer in the United States, behind Walmart.

Amazon employees who supported the petition criticized Amazon for being “below the bar on the issue” compared to other US companies, according to responses viewed by CNBC.

Employees also expressed concern that the pandemic will create new challenges for employees by balancing the need to vote and show up for work, highlighting long lines at voting sites and confusion over where and how to vote. Long lines and hours of waiting have already arisen at polling stations in states where early voting has opened, including Texas and Georgia.

“We are less than a month away from the 2020 US election,” said the petition, which had previously been reported by NBC News. “I urge the company to provide all US employees with a paid day / shift that can be used anytime by election day Nov. 3. This extra day / shift must be available to all employees each year. ”

An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC the company allows employees to request time off individually.

“In the 47 states where in-person voting is in person, employees who do not have enough time before or after their scheduled workday to vote, can apply for and be granted excused time off,” the door added. -speak. “The number of hours and wages provided to employees vary by state according to local laws. ”

The action was organized by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, an employee advocacy group that previously called on the company to develop a comprehensive plan on climate change, among other initiatives. More recently, the group expressed support for warehouse workers who criticized Amazon’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

AECJ also looked at Amazon’s labor practices after two of the group’s executives, former Amazon user experience designers Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, were fired in April. Cunningham and Costa both said they were sacked in retaliation for continued criticism of Amazon and after supporting warehouse workers’ concerns about coronavirus security. Amazon said it fired Cunningham and Costa for “repeated breaches of internal policies.”

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