Amazon is removing two union organizers associated with the country’s first job victory

Amazon is removing two union organizers associated with the country's first job victory

Michal, or’Mat,’ Cusick, and Tristan Dutchin of the Amazon Labor Union on Staten Island, New York, were dismissed by the corporation on Tuesday. The “cases are independent to each other and unrelated to whether these individuals support any particular cause or group.”

Amazon is removing two union organizers associated with the country’s first job victory

“They now say after the fact, after they terminated me, that the COVID-leave actually only extended to the 26th,” said Cusick, an organizer who works as the union’s communications lead. “That discrepancy is how they fired me.”

Cusick, who worked at a different Amazon warehouse from the one that voted to unionize last month, claimed he was fired because he was on COVID leave. He claimed he was told by an employee resource center worker that he could go on leave until April 29 but was then sacked because his vacation time only lasted until April 26.

Cusick said he was locked out of Amazon’s internal employee system on May 2 without any notice. The following day, he said he called the employee resource center and was told about his termination.

“While we normally wouldn’t discuss personnel issues, we think it’s important to clear up some misinformation here,” Nantel said.

In a letter sent on May 4, the company told Cusick he was fired for “voluntary resignation due to job abandonment.” Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement Tuesday that Cusick had “failed to show up for work since an approved leave ended in late April, despite our team reaching out to him and even extending his leave.”

On Monday, Cusick had told the AP his firing may have been an arbitrary decision by Amazon’s automated human resources system, which has been a subject of scrutiny in the past. “If they do not reverse what is a fairly obvious miscarriage of justice here, my presumption is that they are not doing it because they know that I am an Amazon organizer,” he said.

Nantel said Dutchin, another organizer who worked at the facility that voted to unionize, was fired because he failed to meet productivity goals. She said Dutchin “had been given five warnings since last summer for performance issues and was consistently performing in the bottom 3% compared to his peers, despite being offered additional training.”

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