During the epidemic, Amazon had temporarily lifted the prohibition on cell phones in its warehouses so workers could keep in touch with their families, but it had planned to reinstate the restriction in January 2022.
After a tornado hit one of its Illinois warehouses in December, Amazon threatened to suspend its cell phone altogether. It also threatened to mandate that its policies be temporarily suspended. Hundreds of Amazon employees at warehouses issued a petition demanding that they be allowed to keep their phones on during work hours. "Taking our phones away isn''t about safety; it''s about controlling us."
Amazon has halted the reinstating of the phone ban until further notice. Now, the company has made the suspension permanent across its worldwide facilities.
"We recognize the desire for employees to keep their mobile phones inside facilities, and the last two years have demonstrated that we can safely do so," Amazon said in an email to employees who was seen by Bloomberg. "We are making the temporary phone policy permanent, worldwide, in all of our operations facilities."
Motherboard notes that Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island who joined the campaign made permanent cell access one of their demands. Upon completion of the petition drive, a worker said, "This is nice but it does not cost them anything." "What we really need is a raise. Gas is up. Rent is up. We want a $2 increase to the wage cap and a $3 overall raise."
The USOccupational Safety and Health Administration issued a hazard alert to Amazon on Tuesday. The agency said it examined items that raised "concerns about the possibility danger to employees during severe weather emergencies," but it did not issue any violations or citations.