Amazon fired two workers who helped organize its first union

'I believe it was retaliatory,' one of the former JFK8 employees said.

Brendan McDermid / reuters

Weeks after its workers won a union election for the first time, Amazon fired two of the employees who were involved in organization efforts. It's the first time Amazon has forced out workers involved in the union drive since the election win on April 1, according to Motherboard, though it's not whether the company took these actions in retaliation.

Mat Cusick, a warehouse worker and communications lead for the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), was on COVID-19 leave to care for a loved one when he received notice of his firing on May 3rd, he told the outlet. The reason Amazon gave was that it let go Cusick for “voluntary resignation due to job abandonment.”

Fellow organizer Tristan Dutchin said he was fired four days later for failing to meet productivity targets. "I believe it was retaliatory," Dutchin, who has been a vocal union advocate in the press, told Motherboard.

Amazon has fired workers on both sides of labor organizing drives at JFK8. In March 2020, the company terminated the employment of Chris Smalls, who led a protest over Amazon's alleged failure to protect workers from COVID-19. Smalls is now the president of ALU. In April, the company was ordered to reinstate a JFK8 worker who it fired after a protest two years earlier.

Last week, Amazon let go six senior managers who were said to have been involved in the company's anti-union efforts at JFK8. Amazon said it pushed them out as part of “management changes." Some believed they were fired as a result of the union's election win.

Amazon has challenged the election result in court. It has yet to recognize the ALU. Engadget has contacted Amazon for comment.