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Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Amazon employees allege that they have been shortchanged pay while on leave, according to a New York Times investigation published Sunday.

Why it matters: Much of the recent spotlight on Amazon — along with Google, Apple and Facebook — has been over competition and privacy, but labor concerns have been growing across the industry as well.

The Times tells the story of workers who were dealing with a new baby or health issue and found themselves being repeatedly underpaid. The issue appears to have gotten attention only after one worker wrote to then-CEO Jeff Bezos.

  • An Amazon spokeswoman told the Times that the company is still in the process of identifying affected workers and repaying them.
  • Amazon, which operates a network of warehouses and runs an extensive delivery operation, has faced unionization efforts, most recently a push at a facility in Bessemer, Alabama. An initial vote there failed to garner the needed votes, but federal regulators say labor laws may have been broken.

The big picture: Labor issues have been rising on the list of concerns brought up by workers at big tech companies.

Update, 11:01 a.m. PT: Amazon said that the Times article incorrectly suggests that the issues are widespread and ongoing. "They are not," Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel said in a statement. "In fact, the controls we’ve implemented over the last 18 months have resulted in less than 1 percent of people experiencing an issue while being on paid leave."

Go deeper

Amazon deforestation in Brazil surges to worst in 15 years

General view of a burnt area of the Amazonia rainforest in the surroundings of the city of Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, on September 15, 2021. Photo: Mauro Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest reached a 15-year high after it soared 22% in one year, according to data published Thursday.

Why it matters: The Amazon is the world's largest tropical rainforest and stores vast quantities of CO2, the primary greenhouse gas.

Amazon ordered to redo union vote in Alabama

Photo: Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

A U.S. National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) official on Monday called for a re-vote in a union election at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama.

Why it matters: The move could set the stage for another organizing drive at the e-commerce giant, which has, so far, fought off unionizing efforts in the U.S.

Pentagon to probe 2019 Syria strike after reports of dozens of civilian casualties

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Nov. 20. Photo: Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has ordered a new investigation into a 2019 U.S. airstrike that killed around 80 people, including dozens of women and children in Syria, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: The move comes after the Times reported this month that the Pentagon attempted to keep the strike and casualties under wraps, failing to investigate the decision behind it even after questions were raised internally.