Advocates and union leaders protest Amazon working conditions

Posted: Updated:

A group of worker advocates and union leaders rallied at the Robbinsville Amazon fulfillment center to call for safe workplace conditions and better training.

The protest was held in response to an incident that injured 24 employees when a canister of bear repellant went off inside the facility, releasing fumes.

Members of the Warehouse Workers, the New Jersey Work Environment Council, Working Families Alliance of New Jersey and others said they are on the side of the 5,000 employees inside the fulfillment center.

"Earlier this month 24 workers were taken to the hospital from this facility. That is unprecedented. It is shocking, and it is not new,” said Megan Chambers with Workers United SEIU.

RELATED: OSHA probing accident that sickened Amazon workers 
RELATED: Amazon workers hospitalized after bear repellent releases fumes 

But Amazon says that the safety of its workers is the company’s No. 1 priority.

"Everything we do has safety involved. We have an open door policy for communication for our associates if they see a process that can be improved. If they see a safety concern they can raise it and we address it immediately,” said Amazon spokesperson Rachel Lighty.

Lighty also told News 12 New Jersey that in regard to the bear spray incident, “the can was not ripped open or punctured by a robot. I can confirm that we’re in the process of removing that item from all robotics fulfillment centers and are making other adjustments to ensure it doesn’t happen again. We’ve been working closely with OSHA through this investigation.”

OSHA fined the Amazon warehouse in Robbinsville in 2015 after an investigation found the company failed to report 26 work-related incidents at the facility.

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