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Study finds 'extreme worker injury rates' at Amazon warehouses in MN

Amazon workers in Minnesota are sharing their stories of getting injured on the job.
Credit: AP
Amazon Fulfillment warehouse in Shakopee, Minn. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

SHAKOPEE, Minn. — A new report shows the injury rate at Amazon warehouses statewide is quadruple that of all Minnesota industries. According to the National Employment Law Project, no industry had a higher injury rate last year than Amazon's flagship fulfillment center in Shakopee.

Over Zoom Monday, three workers shared their stories of getting injured on the job as well as their frustrations with the rate of speed they're expected to work.

"If everybody is being paranoid of getting written up for not going fast enough, injuries start to happen, which happened with me," employee Emali Pettey said.

The workers also said the process for reporting injuries is flawed. They talked about attempting to submit doctor's notes to Amazon but were apparently told the paperwork was incorrect. They also said their follow-up questions to their specific cases weren't fully addressed.

"I was sent home and my injuries were deleted out of the system," Fardowso Yusuf said in Somali through an English interpreter. "I couldn't find any of the records of the injury I reported."

State Rep. Emma Greenman was also on the call hosted by the Awood Center and plans to introduce legislation to help protect workers next session.

NELP cites data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Census, and Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition to "extreme worker injury rates," the study found "high turnover," "racial pay inequities," and "harmful surveillance and discipline practices" at Amazon warehouses in Minnesota.

In a statement sent to KARE 11 Monday evening, a representative from Amazon said the company takes employee safety and health "very seriously" and the report "ignores the vast majority" of Minnesota Amazon employees who say "they're proud to work at Amazon and feel supported in their roles." 

Read the full statement below:

"We take the safety and health of our employees very seriously and are committed to making Amazon a safe, great place to work. While we know we’re not perfect, this report ignores the perspectives of the vast majority of our employees in Minnesota, who tell us that they’re proud to work at Amazon and feel supported in their roles. We’re proud to offer opportunities for people from a range of backgrounds—from furloughed workers to former military personnel—with an average starting wage of $18 per hour and comprehensive benefits like health care coverage, parental leave, career training, and ways to save for the future.”

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