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Student Activists Call For Amazon Workers To Get Time Off For Voting

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Annie Ropeik
/
NHPR

A small group of young activists protested this weekend outside the Amazon distribution hub in Hooksett, calling for the company’s workers to get time off to vote Tuesday for the election.

It was part of similar protests taking place nationwide. Students who organized the Hooksett event have also worked with groups like 350NH and the New Hampshire Youth Movement.

Lesley University sophomore Alison Frisella spoke through a megaphone in front of a protest banner, as Amazon delivery drivers rolled past nearby big box stores. A few honked in support.

“For the past seven months, Amazon has been taking care of us – they have been delivering our packages, they have been getting us the things that we need. That is thanks to these workers,” Frisella said. “[Amazon CEO] Jeff Bezos can afford to let his workers have a paid day off on Election Day, and it is his responsibility to do so.”

Shira Sadeh, a recent high school graduate from Wilton, helped organize the protest and voted for the first time this year. She said their message was non-partisan – she sees voting as a fundamental right regardless of how people use it.

“Your income shouldn’t decide whether you can vote or not – that’s something everyone should get to do,” Sadeh said. “So I want to make sure that happens for everyone.”

The Hooksett facility is only about a year old and employs about 400 people. Amazon also opened a distribution center in Nashua in 2018.

Amazon said in a statement that the company is encouraging its workers to vote using their own time off, though Election Day is not a paid holiday. 

"We have provided all of our employees information on how to register to vote, details of their local polling locations and how to request that time off to vote if needed," said a spokesperson. "Employees who lack adequate time before or after their scheduled workday have the option to use paid or unpaid time off options to vote."

This story has been updated to include a statement from Amazon.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.

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