Union organizers say at least 50 Amazon employees were suspended with pay after they refused to work following a trash compactor fire at a warehouse in Staten Island.
A fire broke out late Monday afternoon, which led to day-shift workers being sent home with pay, Derrick Palmer, the vice president of the Amazon Labor Union, told the Associated Press.
However, the news outlet reported that when night-shift employees arrived, Palmer said they were told to stay in a break area until management figured out what to do.
But some of the workers began raising concerns, including safety and air quality because the building still smelled of smoke, the news outlet reported.
According to the Associated Press, this led to a work stoppage, with about 100 workers holding a sit-down protest, demanding they be sent home with pay.
A company spokesperson said in a statement to the news outlet that since the New York Fire Department had deemed the building safe, all night shift employees were asked to report to their shifts.
The spokesperson added that a small group refused to work "and remained in the building without permission," the Associated Press reported.
According to the media outlet, the employees are indefinitely suspended while Amazon investigates.
An attorney for the union told the news outlet that the employees plan to file a complaint against Amazon with the National Labor Relations Board.