On Thursday, February 16, 2017, I sent the following letter to security workers at Amazon and their labor allies who are organizing for workplace rights and against Islamophobia. These workers will hold a pray-in demonstration tomorrow, February 17, 12 pm, at Amazon HQ.
Dear Amazon security officers and allies:
As a Seattle City Councilmember, a socialist, a rank and file union member, and a workers’ representative, I stand in complete solidarity with all workers fighting to defend and expand their rights. That includes the right to pray.
For years, Seattleites have been outraged by the behavior of Amazon and its security contractor, Security Industry Specialists (SIS). SIS has been found to have engaged in systematic intimidation of its workers, discrimination, flouting of labor laws, and even illegitimate firings. The discrimination you’re fighting back against is just one of many injustices. It’s a blatant example of Islamophobia. It will not stand.
Amazon is a corporation with soaring profits, and a CEO, Jeff Bezos, who, together with seven other multi-billionaires, holds the same amount of wealth as the bottom half of the world. The company has an obligation to respect all your rights as workers, including your right to form a union and exercise your legal rights to take prayer breaks.
When Donald Trump instituted his Muslim ban via executive order, Bezos told workers that Amazon opposed the ban because, “We’re a nation of immigrants whose diverse backgrounds, ideas, and points of view have helped us build and invent as a nation for over 240 years.”
Platitudes aren’t enough. Bezos needs to immediately direct his managers and SIS to ensure that all workers have access to prayer rooms as needed, in addition to sufficient time to exercise their legal right to pray.
My office stands ready to support every one of you, your union – SEIU 6 – and your faith community in defending your legal rights.
Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant