Amazon fired two employees with ties to the grassroots union that led the first successful U.S. organizing effort in the retail giant's history.
The company confirmed Tuesday that it fired Michal 'Mat' Cusick and Tristan Dutchin, of the Amazon Labor Union on Staten Island, New York. However, it claims the "cases are unrelated to each other and unrelated to whether these individuals support any particular cause or group."
Cusick, who worked at a nearby Amazon warehouse from the one that voted to unionize last month, said he was fired due to COVID-19-related leave. He said he was informed by an agent from the company's employee resource center that he was allowed to go on leave until April 29 but was later fired because leave period extended only until April 26.
"They now say after the fact, after they terminated me, that the COVID-leave actually only extended to the 26th," said Cusick. "That discrepancy is how they fired me."
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.
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."
"While we normally wouldn't discuss personnel issues, we think it's important to clear up some misinformation here," Nantel said.