Somali Workers in Minnesota Force Amazon to Negotiate

But after Ms. Ibrahim returned from breast most cancers remedy, a brand new supervisor scolded her for working slowly, she stated. She felt the supervisor didn’t see her as a lady who had labored for help teams, overcome breast most cancers and raised a daughter who obtained into medical faculty simply 5 years after arriving in the United States. Instead, she stated, the brand new supervisor noticed her as a employee who, on one specific day, was sluggish.

A white co-worker stood up for Ms. Ibrahim, she stated, and the supervisor apologized.

“The new managers are like military — they don’t give you respect,” Ms. Ibrahim stated. “At the beginning, I was paying attention to Awood, but finally the pressure they were talking about became the reality that I see every day.”

Awood stated it had linked with lots of of staff on the Shakopee warehouse and close by services, with help from native mosques and group leaders. It shares area with the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations at a Lutheran church and has political allies. Ilhan Omar, elected this month as one of many first two Muslim ladies to serve in Congress, has attended an Awood occasion, as has her fellow Democrat Tim Walz, the incoming governor.

Awood has 4 workers and is financed by grants and the Service Employees International Union, Mr. Muse stated. A Somali immigrant himself, Mr. Muse labored for the union organizing house well being aides after which as a senior coverage aide for the previous mayor of Minneapolis earlier than becoming a member of Awood this yr.

By the time he arrived, many latest immigrants have been already connecting with each other as Amazon staff due to the corporate’s preliminary recruitment marketing campaign and coordinated transportation. Workers talked about Awood throughout breaks and automotive swimming pools.

They have a WhatsApp textual content message group and have held a number of smaller actions to construct consciousness of their organizing and issues. After staff at one of many services close to Minneapolis deliberate to put on gentle blue, the colour of the Somali flag, on the identical day, Amazon stated it could construct a devoted prayer area there. When Amazon’s annual Prime Day procuring occasion coincided with Ramadan, they held a protest searching for lighter workloads throughout the quick.

“One thing to know about our community — we talk a lot on the phone and chat over coffee,” Mr. Muse stated. “That makes organizing easier.”

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