- In January, Amazon told workers it was shutting down a warehouse in Chicago.
- Workers were told they could choose between losing their jobs or working a 10-hour overnight shift elsewhere.
- Amazon said it is ‘working with each associate directly’ on options.
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Amazon employees at a Chicago warehouse are demanding accommodations like Lyft rides and extra pay for working a new 10.5-hour overnight shift.
The workers were told in January that the DCH1 warehouse, a last-mile delivery station in Chicago, would be closed down, and they could begin working what’s known as a “megacycle” shift at a different location, the group said. The shift starts at 1:20 a.m. and lasts until 11:50 a.m. Motherboard was the first to report the news.
DHC1 Amazonians United, an activist group of Chicago-based warehouse workers, has asked employees to sign a petition that requests schedule accommodations for people who can only work part of the shift because of medical or family concerns.
It also demands a $2 pay boost and Lyft rides to and from work. The group added it wants break times to be observed. “As already promised by Amazon corporate, give us our 20 minute paid breaks at all facilities during the pandemic. Stop cutting our breaks short,” the petition said.
The shift changes have put workers’ lives in “chaos,” the group said in the petition. “They give us 2 weeks to decide between caring for our family and having a job.”
Read more: An Amazon employee group sent an ‘anti-surveillance’ petition with over 200 signatures to CEO Jeff Bezos
In an emailed statement to Insider, Amazon spokeswoman Jen Crowcroft said the company is “working with each associate directly on the option that best supports them.”
More than half of Amazon‘s last-mile delivery workers have already transitioned to the megacycle shift, which gives customers more time to place orders and allows delivery stations to work together more easily, the company said.
“We are excited to have recently launched three new, next generation delivery stations for DCH1 employees where they can continue to work and grow as an integral part of the Amazon team in state-of-art facilities,” Crowcroft said. “Our associates are the heart and soul of our operations, and we are happy to continue to offer great, flexible career opportunities in world class facilities.”
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, online sales at the e-commerce giant have soared. Workers have fought for accommodations to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Employees in several big cities including Chicago protested last year, so the company began offering protections such as temperature checks and partial pay for sick workers, the Verge reported. Amazon later removed its $2 per hour hazard pay raise, saying it was only temporary.