Amazon has reached a settlement with two former employees who criticized its position on climate change and conditions inside its warehouses, five months after the National Labor Relations Board found the company engaged in unlawful retaliation by firing them.
Former Amazon employees Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa said in a joint statement that the agreement requires Amazon to pay them for lost wages and “issue a notice to all of its technology and warehouse workers nationwide that Amazon will not it can fire workers for organizing and exercising their rights. ”
“This is a victory to protect workers’ rights, and it shows that we were right to stand up for each other, for justice and for our world,” they said in the statement.
The settlement was announced before a hearing in the case this week. Originally scheduled for Tuesday, the hearing was delayed to provide more time for settlement talks, the New York Times reported.
“We have reached a mutual agreement that resolves the legal issues in this case and we welcome the resolution of this matter,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
Cunningham and Costa were leaders of the Amazon Employees for Climate Justice group, which lobbied the company to take aggressive action on climate change and raised public concerns about warehouse conditions at the start of the pandemic.
The NLRB decided in favor of the former employees in April, finding that the evidence supported their allegations of unlawful retaliation. The NLRB took the case to an administrative law judge for the hearing to be held this week.
Amazon had questioned the NLRB’s findings. The company claimed that it fired employees for repeatedly violating its external communications policy, but suspected that it did not do so based on the content of their statements. An Amazon spokesperson previously said: “We support the right of every employee to criticize their employer’s working conditions, but that does not come with blanket immunity from our internal policies, all of which are legal.”
In their NLRB complaint, Costa and Cunningham alleged that Amazon fired them “based on discriminatory application of policies or work rules,” as reported by CNBC.
The case brought new scrutiny to Amazon’s treatment of activists in its workforce, including a May 2020 letter to then-Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos from Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders. Tim Bray, Amazon Vice President and Distinguished Engineer, resigned in protest of the Cunningham and Costa layoffs.