Photo credit: Pittsburgh Tribune SC
By Sarah Ahmed
Earlier this week, a working mother and her two daughters were fired in the middle of their shift at the Amazon PIT5 facility near Pittsburgh for confronting management about the sexual assault of one of the daughters. Management took no action after a male worker assaulted one of the young women by pressing his genitals against her backside.
All three women filed complaint forms and angrily confronted management for allowing a predator to keep his job. Instead of firing the predator, management fired the three women and called security to escort them out of the building. The mother in tears told a worker correspondent, “I had to defend my daughter! I had to defend my daughter!”
The daughters were defiant, yelling “Fuck Amazon!” at management as they left the building.
One woman worker said, “I can’t believe they did my girls like that. […] They were trying to address it, and the managers fired her for speaking up. Management let that man work here the longest time.”
Another woman worker said, “Firing them for filing a complaint– it’s victim blaming. And this isn’t the first time they have let a guy keep harassing women with no repercussions, this keeps happening.”
Amazon PIT5 has a history of allowing rampant sexual harassment towards women workers and limiting their integration into the workplace. The warehouse employs an unofficial division of labor by sex where mostly women are assigned to work in the “Small Sort” section which handles envelopes and smaller packages, and male workers do a majority of the heavy lifting in the “Inbound” section where all unsorted packages come into the warehouse.
For several months, two supervisors named Alok and TJ were allowed to harass women, constantly staring at their bodies, stalking them and making sexual comments towards them. Alok was fired only after showing a picture of his penis to a woman worker. TJ was only demoted at the time, but now no longer works at the facility, though the reason for this is unknown. Another woman worker said she was harassed by a supervisor named James, who asked her for pictures of herself that he could frame and put on his wall at home. She reported it to management, but James saw no disciplinary action.
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