The following is from SEIU Local 6:
SEATTLE (Aug. 21, 2017) — On Friday, more than 50 tech workers, security officers, janitors, union members and community supporters held a sit-in at Amazon headquarters demanding that the tech giant hold Security Industry Specialists (SIS) — the contractor Amazon hired to protect its campus — accountable for fair workplace standards and provide officers a path to form their union.
Security officers are central to providing safe and secure working conditions for Amazon’s high technology workforce, but often feel they are treated as second-class citizens in the community they protect.
Friday’s event began with a march through Amazon’s campus that went all the way to the tech giant’s front desk — where tech workers and officers called for a meeting with Amazon management and delivered a petition signed by thousands of tech employees in support.
The petition demands that Amazon end their silence and adopt a responsible contractor policy that will provide security officers with a fair path to form a union. Amazon has a long history of working with union janitors who clean their campus; today’s sit-in called for Amazon to provide the same support for officers and other service workers on site.
The group was told an Amazon manager would meet with them, however, no one from Amazon came out to address their concerns.
As the crowd waited for a response, SIS officers shared stories of trying to survive in Seattle on stagnant wages — many SIS officers haven’t received wage increases in the last five years. Workers talked about struggling to pay for food, rent, school and taking care of their families.
SIS officers went on, speaking of unequal treatment, favoritism and what they felt has been unfair retaliation against workers who speak out to make improvements.
Tech workers also spoke in support of security workers, including Amazon software developer Andrew Lo, who said, “These are the employees who keep all of us safe. Now it’s our turn to stand up for them.”
After about two hours, the crowd chanted and promised they would return until the issues are resolved. There is no doubt that the voices of these fearless workers and supporters were heard.