Labor board says Amazon illegally fired outspoken workers

FILE - Emily Cunningham, left, speaks as Kathryn Dellinger, right, looks on during a news conference following Amazon's annual shareholders meeting, Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Seattle. The National Labor Relations Board has found that two outspoken Amazon workers were illegally fired last year. Both employees, Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, worked at Amazon offices in Seattle and publicly criticized the company, pushing it to do more to reduce its impact on climate change and to better protect warehouse workers from the coronavirus. The NLRB confirmed Monday, April 5, 2021 that it found merit in the case. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)
FILE - Emily Cunningham, left, speaks as Kathryn Dellinger, right, looks on during a news conference following Amazon's annual shareholders meeting, Wednesday, May 22, 2019, in Seattle. The National Labor Relations Board has found that two outspoken Amazon workers were illegally fired last year. Both employees, Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, worked at Amazon offices in Seattle and publicly criticized the company, pushing it to do more to reduce its impact on climate change and to better protect warehouse workers from the coronavirus. The NLRB confirmed Monday, April 5, 2021 that it found merit in the case. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file) (Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – The National Labor Relations Board has found that two outspoken Amazon workers were illegally fired last year.

Both employees, Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, worked at Amazon offices in Seattle and publicly criticized the company, pushing it to do more to reduce its impact on climate change and to better protect warehouse workers from the coronavirus.

Cunningham shared with The Associated Press an email from the NLRB, which said it found that Amazon violated the rights of the two workers. The government agency also confirmed on Monday that it found merit in the case, adding that if Amazon doesn't settle the case a complaint will be filed. After that, a trial could start. The news was first reported by The New York Times.

In a statement, Amazon said it disagreed with the preliminary findings and said it fired the employees for repeatedly violating internal policies, not because they talked publicly about working conditions or sustainability.

“We support every employee’s right to criticize their employer’s working conditions, but that does not come with blanket immunity against our internal policies, all of which are lawful," the Seattle-based company said.

Cunningham said the ruling proves that they were on the right side of history.

“Amazon tried to silence us,” said Cunningham. “It didn’t work.”

Because of the ruling, Amazon could be forced to offer Cunningham and Costa their jobs back, pay them back pay and reimburse them for expenses related to losing their jobs.