King County Leaders Demand Amazon Reinstate Fired Workers

April 26, 2020

More than 65 of King County’s top labor and elected leaders signed on to a letter criticizing Amazon’s recent retaliation against warehouse and tech employees who have been outspoken on issues of workplace safety and climate change.

The letter calls on Amazon to take the following actions:

  • Reinstate the fired workers immediately
  • Further improve warehouse safety in response to the ongoing pandemic
  • Allow workers to act collectively and unionize without retaliation

This comes as Amazon tech employees in Seattle held a “sick out” to protest the firing of two longtime employees who helped organize Amazon Employees for Climate Justice and have pushed the company to take action on climate change.

The letter is below:


The COVID crisis is revealing much about our region, state, and nation — about our collective strengths and weaknesses. It will certainly change us forever, though exactly how remains to be seen. Leaders across government, health, and business owe it to our constituencies to be responsive and compassionate while so many face the burdens of the pandemic. Many businesses are stepping up to this challenge admirably, and we applaud the actions taken by Amazon to creating a small business relief fund, limiting price gouging, and hiring more people in a challenging time when many jobs are declining.

We wanted to address another set of events, though, that was brought to our attention and raises concerns about the precarious position of workers during this crisis. In recent days, Amazon has fired employees in New York, Minnesota, and here in Washington State, for speaking up about workplace safety issues which, in the context of the pandemic, are extremely serious. In New York and Minnesota, these were black warehouse workers with what they called out as COVID safety hazards in their own workplaces. In Seattle, these were women technology workers who asked fellow tech workers to support warehouse workers. This comes in the aftermath of the first disclosed death of an Amazon warehouse worker from the novel coronavirus. 

All workers deserve a safe, healthy workplace, and compensation that allows them to provide for their families, whether they write code for web servers, or sort packages in a warehouse. We ask Amazon to do the following:

  • Reinstate the fired workers immediately
  • Further improve warehouse safety in response to the ongoing pandemic
  • Allow workers to act collectively and unionize without retaliation


As we move forward and return to work in the months to come, we will need everyone working together for the people and the prosperity of our region. 

Today is a moment for our leaders — from elected officials, business executives, labor leaders, and executive directors of community-based organizations — to demonstrate the values we all share, by ensuring our economy will be rebuilt in a way that is open and fair for all who build it. 

We look forward to your partnership.


Labor Leaders:

Nicole Grant, Executive Secretary-Treasurer, MLK Labor

Faye Guenther, UFCW 21

Sterling Harders, SEIU 775

Diane Sosne, SEIU Healthcare 1199 NW

Karen Strickland. AFT Washington

Karen Estevein, PROTEC 17

Rick Hicks, Teamsters 174

Karen Hart, SEIU 925

John Scearcy, Teamsters 117

Joel Funfar, SPEEA

Shellea Allen, SAG-AFTRA

David Parsons,  UAW 4121

Jon Holden, IAM District 751

Kenny Stuart, IAFF 27

Zenia Javalera, SEIU 6

Mike Andrew, UAW Local 1981/National Writers Union

Brendan Bohannan, Sailors Union of the Pacific

Jennifer Bacon, IATSE 15

Art Clemens. CWA 7800

Paula Lukaszek, WFSE 1488

Annette Stofer AFT 1789

Shannon McCann. Federal Way EA

Gabriel Prawl. ILWU 52

Lars Turner, Masters, Mates & Pilots – Offshore Division

Louis McGill, UAW Local 1981/National Writers Union

Terry Taylor, Flight Attendants 19

Erik Van Rossum, UNITEHERE 8

Jim Howe, AFT 3533 – Lake WA TC Federation of Teachers

David Shapiro, AFT 6191 – Cascadia College

Steve Behling, Boilermakers Local 104

Debbie Haigh, WFSE 976

Tom Lux, IAM 751 F

Maxine Reigel, Organized Workers for Labor Solidarity


Elected Leaders:

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

Joe Nguyen, Washington State Senator

Jesse Salomon, Washington State Senator

Keiser, Karen, Washington State Senator

Mona Das, Washington State Senator

Nicole Macri, Washington State Representative

Joseph Fitzgibbon, Washington State Representative

Michael Pellicciotti, Washington State Representative

Jesse Johnson, Washington State Representative

Tina Orwall, Washington State Representative

Mia Su-ling Gregerson, Washington State Representative

Noel Frame, Washington State Representative 

Sharon Tomiko Santos, Washington State Representative

Jerry Pollet, Washington State Representative

Javier Valdez, Washington State Representative

Vandana Slatter, Washington State Representative

Eileen Cody, Washington State Representative

Lorena González, Seattle City Council

Teresa Mosqueda, Seattle City Council

Lisa Herbold, Seattle City Council

Tammy Morales, Seattle City Council

Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Council

Alex Pedersen, Seattle City Council

Debora Juarez, Seattle City Council

Dan Strauss, Seattle City Council

Andrew Lewis, Seattle City Council

Joe McDermott, King County Councilmember

Dave Upthegrove, King County Councilmember

Claudia Balducci, King County Councilmember

Rod Dembowski, King County Councilmember

Girmay Zahilay, King County Councilmember

Jeanne Kohl-Welles, King County Councilmember

Ryan Calkins, Port of Seattle Commissioner

Takele Gobena, SeaTac City Council

Marli Larimer, Kent City Council

Satwinder Kaur, Kent City Council

Pedro Olguin, Burien City Council

Sofia Aragon, Burien City Council

De’Sean Quinn, Tukwila City Council

Cynthia Delostrinos Johnson, Tukwila City Council

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