Labor Movement / Trade Unions

Two Fired Amazon Labor Union Organizers Speak Out; Tristan Dutchin: ‘An Attack Against All Workers’

Below is a statement by Amazon Labor Union (ALU) organizer Tristan “Lion” Dutchin, who was fired by Amazon on May 7, 2022. Dutchin worked at JFK8, Amazon’s giant fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York, where the ALU won a landmark union representation election on April 1. As part of his efforts to help secure this historic victory, Dutchin, who is also an artist, has written and performed a number of pro-union songs (see ALU Union Songs).

On May 4, three days before Dutchins termination, Amazon fired another ALU organizer, Mat Cusick, who worked at DYY6, the companys delivery station in its Staten Island complex. Also below is the link to a May 11 Democracy Now interview with both workers, who explain the retaliatory character of Amazons actions.

The ALU is in the process of launching a public campaign to press for reinstatement of the fired workers. The links to sign up on the ALU’s mailing list and to sign the ALUs petition demanding union recognition at JFK8 are provided at the end of this article.

By Tristan “Lion” Dutchin

I am Tristan Lion and I have been organizing at Amazon for a union for about a year. I’ve been organizing to fight for job security, better pay, better breaks, and overall to make Amazon a job where people would like to stay. I was just recently fired because I took up this fight together with hundreds of my coworkers. 

The workers at JFK8 were able to win the first union at an Amazon facility in the country. That victory not only helped me and my coworkers become a more organized force to fight for what we want at the job; it also showed workers around the country that they could win unions for themselves. This win for the workers has clearly been a nightmare for people like Jeff Bezos who profit off exploiting the workforce, just as we are exploited at our facility in Staten Island. Don’t forget: because of our work, Amazon made $33 billion in 2021.

Left: Tristan “Lion” Dutchin (right) and other Amazon Labor Union (ALU) organizers, including Justine Medina (center with glasses) and Karen Ponce (embracing Medina), celebrate union victory at JFK8 outside Brooklyn office of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on April 1, 2022. Right: ALU organizer Mat Cusick outside same NLRB office on May 2, just before labor board announced results of union vote at LDJ5, Amazon’s sorting center in Staten Island. (Photos: Mark Satinoff [left], Argiris Malapanis [right] / World-Outlook)

The day Amazon fired me, they had me work almost the whole day then sent me home, telling me not to return. Even when targeting me, they made sure to get every last bit of work out of me that they could.

Ever since we won the union at our facility, Amazon has gone on the offensive against union organizing. We just saw this with the intense union-busting campaign at the LDJ5 facility. [For more information, see ‘We Lost this Battle, But We’ll Win the War’: After Landmark Victory at JFK8, ALU Loses 2nd Vote at LDJ5 – WO.]

We also saw this with the case of Mat, an organizer at the DYY6 in Staten Island who was also fired. The National Labor Relations Board determined recently that Amazon’s anti-union meetings were totally illegal. These firings aren’t about whatever bull their PR team comes up with; they fired us because we were fighting for a union and because Bezos is scared of workers organizing for their rights.

My firing is not only an attack against the ALU. It’s an attack against all workers who are organizing unions everywhere. We see this with Starbucks where organizers are also being fired. Amazon doesn’t even want to recognize the union at JFK8. We cannot let the bosses do what they want and terminate us for trying to improve our working conditions. We cannot let them isolate us and pick us off one by one in the shadows. This fight must be made for all workers who are fighting for unions. They fight alongside me and my union family at the ALU. 

No more retaliation against union organizers!

No more wrongful terminations!

No more union busting!

Democracy Now May 11, 2022, interview with Mat Cusick and Tristan “Lion” Dutchin

“They Just Fired Me”: Meet the 2 Terminated Amazon Warehouse Workers Fighting Attempt to Crush Union

ALU petition demanding Amazon recognize the union at JFK8:

ALU mailing list sign-up:

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