Amazon workers in St. Peters take part in national strike, demand better working conditions

Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 10:55 PM CST|Updated: Nov. 25, 2022 at 8:20 AM CST
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ST. PETERS (KMOV) - Nothing stood in the way, not even on one of the biggest shopping days of the year, as dozens of Amazon workers walked out of the STL 8 Amazon warehouse in St. Peters.

“Feels good, feels very good,” said Jennifer Crane, who has been an Amazon worker at the St. Peters location for a year and a half.

“If we’re going to hit them, got to make it count,” said Alexander Mazella, another Amazon worker.

Friday’s strike was part of a worldwide movement on Black Friday. Other locations also took part in demonstrating for one day outside of their Amazon facility.

“We needed to walk out a long time ago,” said Stacey Cowsette, an Amazon worker for over two years. “We’re individuals. We’re people. We’re not machines.”

Supporters, including local union groups, families and members of the Missouri Workers Center, marched to the steps of the Amazon warehouse, where they greeted Amazon workers as they walked out this afternoon. According to the Missouri Workers Center, more than 350 workers at the fulfillment center signed a petition demanding better working conditions, including higher pay, better hours, and an end to the three-year cap on wage increases.

“I’m a single mom of seven. I have two sons that actually work here, too,” said Crane. “I watch my 20-year-old son come home tired because he’s worked to death. We have rate to meet. We have long hours on our feet, with only two breaks to sit down, not a lot of sitting the rest of the time.”

Crane says her job has taken a toll on her mental and physical health in many ways.

“We have to package roughly 70 packages an hour for 10 hours a day,” she said. “So about 3,000 packages a week, or I get written up.”

Even after being injured last month on the job, she does not feel like she is given a break.

“MRI shows I have a torn ligament,” she said. “I went to work yesterday on Thanksgiving.”

“I mean, we had somebody get injured here today. It’s completely unacceptable,” said Mazella.

With the holiday season now beginning to pick up, workers like Cowsette say the time is now to have their voices change the culture at Amazon locations throughout the globe.

“During the holiday season, it’s 11 and a half [hours], and some people are on 12-hour shifts,” said Cowsette. “We have a salary cap of $18, and I believe it’s 96 cents, and that’s after three years, you can’t go any further. I’m getting ready to hit the salary cap, and I don’t think it’s fair.”

“We’ll just keep fighting till they do, that’s all we can do,” said Crane.

It is through their chants towards Amazon that workers also hope to send a message to consumers.

“I want them to know there is a cost to their two-day shipping…there is a cost on everybody that works here,” said Crane.