Amazon staffers demand paid time off to vote in 2020 election

Thousands of Amazon staffers are reportedly demanding the company give them time off to vote in November’s presidential election.

A petition circulating on the e-commerce giant’s internal network urges Amazon to give all of its US employees a paid day or shift off to cast their ballot on or before Election Day, according to reports.

More than 4,000 tech employees had signed onto the petition as of Tuesday evening, with some saying Amazon is “below the bar on the issue” as other large companies such as Apple, Uber, Facebook and Walmart have offered time off to vote, CNBC reported. Amazon is the nation’s second-largest employer with more than 876,000 workers around the world.

The petition was launched Tuesday on Amazon’s internal ticketing system, which workers can use to request changes to company policies, according to NBC News. It was reportedly organized by Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, a group of staffers that has pressed the company to combat climate change and step up worker protections.

Some workers expressed concerns that the coronavirus pandemic would make it harder for employees to juggle voting and coming to work, given the long lines that have already popped up at some polling places around the country, CNBC reports.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning. But the company told news outlets that employees can request time off to vote on their own.

“In all 47 states with in-person voting, employees that lack adequate time before or after their scheduled workday to vote, can request and be provided excused time off,” Amazon spokeswoman Jaci Anderson told NBC News. “The number of hours and pay provided to employees varies by state in line with local laws.”

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