Thousands of May Day marchers head to Amazon headquarters as faith leaders demand tech giant hold security contractor SIS accountable

 

On May Day thousands of security officers, faith leaders, tech workers and supporters rallied at the steps of Amazon’s sprawling tech campus in Seattle demanding the tech giant hold their security contractors accountable.

More than 800 security officers who protect the campus work for contractor Security Industry Specialists (SIS), a company that has come under intense scrutiny for its treatment of workers.

Amazon inside

SIS officers who protect Amazon are forming their union right now in response to unfair religious practices, no cost of living raises, favoritism, and a lack of respect in the workplace. Take a second and tell Amazon to hold SIS accountable.

And this month, officers filed retaliation charges against SIS based on allegations that workers felt their hours were drastically cut, that SIS managers videotaped officers engaging in union activity in an intimidating manner, and that an officer was threatened with suspension because they spoke out address their concerns to SIS.

May Day started early as officers and faith leaders filed in to SIS’s regional office to deliver the retaliation charges along with a letter demanding fair and clear religious policies. The letter outlined what Muslim officers go through on a daily basis while working for SIS.

“Officers have heard SIS managers make disparaging public comments in the workplace, including ‘Don’t blame us if you don’t get relieved for break, blame the Muslims’ when discussing a recent Muslim holiday.

Officers have repeatedly asked SIS supervisors for help in finding designated and reasonable spaces to pray in. The response has rarely been helpful. Some managers have told officers to use their cars, others were told to use far-away warehouses, which on a 10-minute break, makes it logistically impossible. Some guards were told that management doubted they were actually praying, and suggested watching them during their daily prayers. Other requests went ignored.”

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It was signed by the SIS committee—a group of officers leading the effort to form their union.

This is the third time this year officers have traveled to SIS’s offices in hopes of meeting with management. To date, no one from SIS management has been willing to meet with officers.

Immediately following, faith leaders and SIS officers traveled to Amazon’s headquarters to deliver a strongly worded letter from Seattle’s broader religious community.

“We are writing to follow up on claims that have come to our attention about the unfair treatment of Muslim security officers and allegations of harassment by your security contractor, Security Industry Specialists (SIS). As Ramadan approaches, we hope that you can take swift action to ensure that every worker who is part of your Headquarters community is able to fulfill the needs of their job without sacrificing the duties of their faith.”

The letter was signed by over 30 community pillars such as Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) National & Washington State, ACLU Washington and Abu-Bakr Islamic Center.  Read letter here.

Amazon reception took the faith letter and proceeded to call managers at Security Industry Specialists. The delegation spoke up that SIS has retaliated against its own officers and that it is time for Amazon to step in and step up to solve these problems.

To date, no one from Amazon has returned these calls as they seem unwilling to hold SIS accountable.

Faith leaders, officers and supporters chanted on the way out of the tech campus and were met in the street by thousands of May Day marchers.

Faith leader Angela Ying told the crowd that Amazon’s shareholder meeting is around the corner and “We’ll be there to make sure they hold the companies they hire accountable,” she said.

 

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