Category: Labor Movement / Trade Unions

UAW Strike Scores Victory for Working Class

United Auto Workers (UAW) members who recently concluded a strike against General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis scored a victory for the union and the working class. For the first time in many years, a nationwide strike by industrial workers resulted in a substantial improvement in wages and working conditions. That strengthens the UAW and the entire working class. It is proof that union power can achieve results.

Solidarity with Striking Auto Workers!

On September 15, the United Auto Workers union (UAW) began a coordinated strike against the three major U.S. automakers. The UAW targeted one plant each at General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis, involving almost 13,000 workers. The union is acting to defend its members from the debilitating effects of the automakers’ decades-long campaign to slash the unionized workforce, drive down wages, and weaken the union by instituting a permanent two-tier wage and benefit system. This strike deserves the support of the entire labor movement and all working people.

Railroad Workers United: ‘We Would Never Concede Our Right to Strike’

In this article, Ron Kaminkow answers claims by U.S. representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that she voted to approve the anti-labor contract President Biden and Congress imposed on freight rail workers in late 2022 at the request of Railroad Workers United (RWU). Kaminkow is a railroad engineer working at Amtrak, a founder of the RWU and a member of its steering committee.

Help US Workers Visit Cuba on May Day

This is an appeal to encourage donations to help workers from the United States, involved in union organizing efforts at Amazon warehouses, participate in an upcoming trip to Cuba. The Los Angeles US Hands Off Cuba Committee is organizing the delegation, which will coincide with May Day celebrations on the island.

Relentless Profit Drive Behind Ohio Rail Disaster

The February 3 derailment of a Norfolk Southern (NS) train carrying hazardous chemicals caused an inferno and the release of enormous plumes of toxic black smoke over East Palestine, Ohio. It has brought into sharp focus the danger the railroads’ relentless drive for profit poses to public safety. That profit drive is the same motive that led the rail barons, backed by the federal government, to compromise safety by refusing to include paid days off for railroad workers in contract negotiations last year. Workers advocated for paid days off for times when they are sick, or too exhausted from long and unpredictable hours of work, to operate trains safely. In December, President Joe Biden and the U.S. Congress backed the railroad owners, imposing the new national rail contract the owners insisted on.

Open Letter to BLET President Hall from Railroad Workers United

In the wake of the recent imposition of a new national rail contract, over widespread rank-and-file opposition, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET) elected a new national president. Edward A. Hall, a working engineer on the Union Pacific Railroad and a local officer in Division 28 in Tucson, Arizona, won 53% of the vote. Hall ousted long-time BLET president Dennis Pierce in national balloting during November. Many rank-and-file workers want the unions to fight more effectively the next time around, a sentiment that was expressed in the open letter from Railroad Workers United (RWU) to Ed Hall, which World-Outlook is publishing here for the information of our readers. RWU is a rank-and-file group that brings together members of all rail unions.

Amazon Labor Union Wins Certification in NY

January 15, 2023 — On January 11, nine months after the historic victory at Amazon’s JFK8 fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 28 director overruled Amazon’s objections and certified the election results. The election took place March 25-30, 2022. There were 8,325 eligible voters. Of the nearly 5,000 ballots cast, the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) won by a margin of 523 votes. “Amazon’s workers won fair and square,” ALU president Chris Smalls said in a statement. “It’s now time for Amazon to quit stalling, obey the law, respect their workers, and sit down at the bargaining table.”

Join Rail Union Rallies Dec. 13!

Railroad Workers United (RWU), a national organization of rank-and-file rail workers from all rail unions, is urging rail labor and its allies to join rallies on Tuesday, December 13. RWU has expressed its support for these actions in the post we are sharing here. It includes a link from the rail union SMART-TD, offering information on the time and place of rallies in various cities. World-Outlook encourages our readers to join these actions.

Rail Contract Shows Unions Need New Leadership; Workers Need Our Own Party

At the “urgent appeal” of President Biden, the U.S. Senate voted 80 – 15 on December 1 to impose a contract settlement previously rejected by four unions representing a majority of railroad workers and by thousands who voted “No” in eight other unions. The House of Representatives approved a similar measure, which Biden swiftly signed into law on December 2. A separate bill would have added seven days paid sick leave to the new national rail contract. It was no surprise that it failed. Biden firmly opposed any changes to the contract that his administration brokered in September on the eve of a national strike deadline. Rail workers are angry and frustrated by this outcome. Rank-and-file rail workers refused to accept Biden’s deal that top union leaders claimed was the best contract possible. The ranks of the unions spoke out, explained the intolerable conditions of work and life they face every day, and won support from millions of working people. Without rank-and-file resistance, no resolution on sick pay would have been considered. Without rank-and-file resistance, those brutal conditions would have remained unknown to other working people.

Railroad Workers United Open Letter to Congress and the President

This is an open letter to U.S. president Biden and Congressional leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties. The Railroad Workers United (RWU), which describes itself as “an inter-union, cross-craft solidarity ‘caucus’ of railroad workers, and their supporters, from all crafts, all carriers, and all unions across North America,” sent the letter in response to Biden’s initiative to ban a railroad workers strike. RWU is asking railroad workers and their allies to sign it.

Biden Stabs Rail Labor in the Back

November 29, 2022 — On Monday, November 28, President Biden called on Congress to impose a national contract on railroad workers that has been rejected by four unions that represent a majority of rail union members. He claimed there is “no path to resolve the dispute at the bargaining table.” He then sanctimoniously described himself as a “proud pro-labor president.” The facts show otherwise. Biden’s action flies in the face of the reasonable demands of union members. His action is anti-democratic, seeking to deny railroad workers the right to use their unions to fight for their interests.

Amazon Labor Union Withdraws Election Petition at California Warehouse

November 4, 2022 — On October 21, less than two weeks after filing with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for a union representation election, United4Change withdrew its petition for an election at Amazon’s ONT8 warehouse in Moreno Valley, California. United4Change is affiliated with the Amazon Labor Union (ALU). To hold an election supervised by the NLRB, a union must show it has gathered signatures of support from at least 30% of workers eligible to vote. United4Change initially estimated there were 800 workers in the proposed bargaining unit. But Amazon formally challenged that number in a filing with the NLRB saying the actual number is 2,645. The labor board accepted the company’s assertion without comment. The ALU has not released an official statement as to why the union withdrew the petition. But since Amazon claimed the number of employees is three times larger than the union’s estimate, it is clear that the 30% threshold — as defined by Amazon and the NLRB — was not reached. In an October 30 interview, ONT8 worker and lead union organizer Nannette Plascencia described the withdrawal of the petition as a temporary setback. She said the union is continuing to collect more signatures.

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California Amazon Workers Petition for Union Election

On April 1, the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) won a historic union representation election at JFK8, the Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York. It was the first time workers at one of the retail giant’s U.S. facilities voted to unionize. Since then, the ALU — a group led by rank-and-file workers with no affiliation to any established national trade union — has been collaborating with Amazon workers across the country trying to organize themselves into a union. The following is based on a September 30 World-Outlook interview with Nannette Plascencia, a worker at the Amazon ONT8 fulfillment center in Moreno Valley, California, and a lead organizer of United4Change — an affiliate of the ALU.

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Amazon Labor Union Loses Vote at ALB1 Warehouse

ALBANY, New York, October 18, 2022 — Workers at Amazon’s fulfillment center in New York’s capital district region voted by a margin of 2-1 against representation by the Amazon Labor Union (ALU). According to the results released by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) today, the vote was 206 in favor of union representation to 406 against, with 31 challenged and 4 void ballots. The challenged votes are not enough to affect the outcome. About 68% of the 950 workers eligible to vote took part in the election. While recognizing the huge resources Amazon put into pressuring workers into either voting “no” or not voting at all, it is important to face the lopsided character of the final tally. The 2-1 vote against the union, however, is not the only noteworthy fact. If a broader rank-and-file leadership can be forged over the coming months among those who voted for the union, steps forward can be taken to counter this setback. Some of the pro-union workers at ALB1 are pointing into this direction. “Despite all the union-busting and unfair labor practices, we recognize that a union election is just one step in a much longer struggle,” Sarah Chaudhry, who started working at ALB1 two months ago, told World-Outlook. “I will continue to fight for my fellow workers’ rights until we have our union at ALB1 and until all Amazon workers secure their right to a union.”

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Railroad Track Maintenance Workers Reject Proposed National Contract

October 15, 2022 — Members of the third largest U.S. rail union rejected the tentative agreement (TA) for a new national contract. The Biden administration had brokered the deal in last-minute talks with railroad management and the 12 unions representing railroad (RR) workers. The ranks of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employes Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (BMWED) said “No” by a vote of 6,646 rejecting ratification and 5,100 approving it. The union represents workers who build and maintain tracks, bridges, buildings, and other structures on U.S. railroads.

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NY Amazon Workers Protest Life-Threatening Job Conditions

This is an Amazon Labor Union (ALU) press release about an important job action by workers at JFK8, Amazon’s giant warehouse in Staten Island, New York. The ALU won a landmark union representation election at JFK8 on April 1, 2022. In a TikTok video, JFK8 workers can be seen demanding to be sent home with pay after fire breaks out releasing toxic fumes into the warehouse.

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ALB1 Amazon Workers to Vote on Unionizing

ALBANY, New York — Amazon workers at ALB1, the company’s warehouse in Schodack, New York, will vote in October in a union representation election. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced September 14 the election will take place 8am-noon and 8pm-midnight on October 12, 13, 15, and 17. Workers will vote in a tent at ALB1’s parking lot in front of the warehouse.

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Railroad Workers Will Have Final Word on National Contract

September 15, 2022 — A national rail strike has been postponed for now. Under enormous pressure from the Biden administration and threats in Congress to impose onerous conditions, leaders of the two largest rail unions and the National Carriers Conference (representing railroad (RR) owners) announced a tentative agreement on a new national rail contract this morning.

Details concerning the most important issue fueling the anger of RR workers are only beginning to emerge. That issue is relief from draconian attendance policies that deny workers adequate time off for rest, family, and medical needs. Whatever concessions the billionaire RR owners may have made at the last minute were only the result of the strike deadline that was set for 12:01 am September 16. Until RR workers themselves can read and discuss the proposed contract, nothing is settled.

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Inside A North Carolina Amazon Union Organizing Drive

Amazon’s massive two million-square-foot warehouse, called RDU1 Fulfillment Center, is located in Garner, North Carolina (NC), a few miles from downtown Raleigh. It opened in 2020 and employs some 6,000 people. Carolina Amazonians United for Solidarity and Empowerment (C.A.U.S.E.), founded in January 2022, describes itself as “a worker-led movement defending workers’ rights & organizing to battle the corruption and exploitation by Amazon.” It is not affiliated with any established union but seeks to form one. This article is based on an interview with Destiny Blackwell, a 25-year-old worker at RDU1, member of the C.A.U.S.E. Steering Committee, and chair of the Publicity Committee. She is a stower, which entails putting items into inventory. She works a twelve-hour shift, from 6:00 PM to 6:30 AM.

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Are Railroad Workers Heading Toward a Strike?

August 26, 2022 — Some 100,000 workers on the nation’s freight railroads are one step closer to a decision on whether to go on strike or not. That’s the result of the recommendations made August 16 by Presidential Emergency Board (PEB) Number 250, established by President Joe Biden in June of this year. The government’s intent is to resolve an impasse between the railroad owners and all of the 12 unions representing rail workers organized into the Coordinated Bargaining Coalition and BMWED/SMART MD Coalition (Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division and Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers — Mechanical and Engineering Department). The national freight contract expired almost three years ago. The impasse is largely a result of policies imposed by the railroad owners that make working and living conditions for workers increasingly intolerable. This includes imposing draconian attendance policies coupled with the carriers’ demands to cut the workforce even further by altering work rules.

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ALB1 Amazon Workers File for Union Election

ALBANY, New York, August 17, 2022 — “Today, Amazon workers at the ALB1 warehouse in Schodack, New York, have officially filed to have a union election,” Connor Spence told the media at a press conference outside the Federal Building here.The Amazon Labor Union (ALU) sponsored the event. Spence is ALU’s secretary treasurer in New York City. The ALU leader addressed the media alongside two ALB1 workers: Heather Goodall, a lead organizer at Amazon’s Schodack fulfillment center, and Kenneth Arrington. “We are looking forward to going up against the company again, in another union election,” Spence continued. “We’re really proud of our fellow workers in upstate New York. They are very dedicated even in the face of Amazon’s anti-union campaign, which, as a JFK8 worker, I’m very familiar with. ”ALB1 workers partnered with the New York City-based ALU two months ago in their effort to organize the Schodack warehouse, located in a small town 10 miles southeast of Albany.

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ALB1 Amazon Workers Protest New Jersey Death on Job

SCHODACK, New York, July 27, 2022 — Workers at Amazon’s fulfillment center in this small town near Albany, New York, protested the death of a fellow worker at EWR9, the company’s warehouse in Carteret, New Jersey. “We called this action today to honor Rafael’s life and to highlight unsafe job conditions at ALB1,” said Heather Goodall, a picker at Amazon’s warehouse here, known as ALB1. Goodall is also the union campaign manager here. Rafael Reynaldo Mota Frias, 42 died while working at EWR9 on July 13. His family later confirmed on Facebook posts that he died from cardiac arrest. The fatality occurred during the company’s Prime Day shopping rush at the Carteret fulfillment center.

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ALB1 Amazon Workers Call Walkout over New Jersey Death

ALBANY, New York, July 23, 2022 — Amazon workers at ALB1, the retail giant’s fulfillment center in Schodack, New York, have called a walkout for Wednesday, July 27. They will hold the protest during the 1:30 -2 p.m. lunchtime at ALB1’s parking lot to honor the memory of a fellow worker who died July 13 while working at EWR9, Amazon’s warehouse in Carteret, New Jersey.“ We will also demand that Amazon be held accountable for job conditions and disregard for safety that could have led to this death,” Heather Goodall told World-Outlook today. Goodall is a picker at ALB1 and the union campaign manager at the warehouse in Schodack, a small town near Albany.

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Amazon Workers Rally in Albany, Expand Support for Union

ALBANY, New York, July 17, 2022 — About 100 Amazon workers and their supporters rallied at Townsend Park here today. They came to show support for organizing a union at the company’s fulfillment center in Schodack, a small town near the New York State capital. “It’s been incredible,” said Heather Goodall, the union campaign manager who works as a picker at ALB1, the acronym for the Schodack warehouse. “To know on the inside what employees are going through and see that they can’t feed their families. We joke about barely making it to work on gas fumes on pay day, hoping our pay gets deposited.” Unionizing ALB1 will help workers push for a decent wage, at least $27 an hour, and improved safety conditions, Goodall told those assembled.

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Amazon Workers in Motion

About 4,000 unionists from across the country and 200 international guests from around the world attended the Labor Notes conference the weekend of June 17–19 in Chicago. The size of the gathering was noteworthy as was the participation of many young workers. A conference panel titled “Amazon Workers in Motion” highlighted some of the union organizing efforts that mark new developments in the U.S. labor movement. Among the most important is the Amazon Labor Union’s (ALU) stunning April 1 victory in the union election at JFK8, Amazon’s giant fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York. The panel brought together four Amazon workers from four different geographic regions, each with its own history and demographics. These union organizers shared their experiences while outlining differing views on strategy and tactics. Soon after the Labor Notes conference, it became clear that organizing efforts at Amazon — the second largest employer in the United States after Walmart — are spreading to other parts of the country. According to a July 9 report by ABC News, the ALU has thrown its support behind unionization efforts at two other Amazon warehouses: in Campbellsville, Kentucky; and Schodack, a small town near Albany, New York. A union solidarity rally is planned at Schodack, NY, on July 17.

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Union Power Can Break Employers’ Obstruction

June 21, 2022 — Three days ago, World-Outlook published “Amazon Seeks to Prevent Certification of Union at NY Warehouse.” The article reported on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) hearing considering Amazon’s objections to certifying the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) as the choice of workers at JFK8, the company’s 8,000-strong warehouse in Staten Island, New York. The ALU won a landmark victory in a union representation election there on April 1. Amazon’s goal is to overturn the election results. If that is not possible, the corporate giant hopes to delay the NLRB’s final certification of the ALU as the bargaining agent for JFK8 workers, thus weakening ALU’s efforts to win a decent contract there. The NLRB’s Region 29 Brooklyn office, which oversaw the election, ruled the ALU the winner. The federal labor board, however, and the entire process of “mediation” it supervises, has been no friend of labor since the U.S. government established the agency over 85 years ago.

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Amazon Seeks to Prevent Certification of Union at NY Warehouse

PHOENIX, Arizona, June 13, 2022 — The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) opened a hearing here today on Amazon’s objections to the landmark victory of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) at JFK8, the company’s giant fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York. The ALU — a newly formed union led by young workers at the 8,000-employee facility — won a representation election on April 1. Amazon has challenged the outcome of the vote. Amazon’s lawyers said they plan to call “dozens and dozens” of witnesses and expect the hearing to go on for “the next several weeks.” In doing so, Amazon’s attorneys revealed the company’s strategy of trying to prolong the proceeding’s duration as long as possible. At this point, it is up in the air when the hearing may end.

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

This 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, the company’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. Three days earlier, on May 4, Amazon fired another ALU organizer, Mat Cusick, who worked at DYY6, the company’s delivery station in its Staten Island complex. We also publish here the link to a May 11 Democracy Now interview with both workers, who explain the retaliatory character of Amazon’s actions.

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‘We Lost this Battle, But We’ll Win the War’

BROOKLYN, New York, May 2, 2022 — “We lost this battle, but we’ll win the war,” Michael Aguilar told fellow Amazon Labor Union (ALU) members, union supporters, and the media this grey, rainy afternoon. An Amazon worker at LDJ5, the company’s sorting facility in Staten Island, New York, Aguilar was speaking to those gathered outside the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) office here today. The labor board had just announced the ALU lost the union representation election at LDJ5.The final tally was 380 votes in favor to 618 against the union, and 2 voided ballots. Of the 1,633 workers eligible to vote, 1,000 cast ballots. This means 38% of the LDJ5 workers backed the ALU, compared to 55% at JFK8.

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Unite Against Union Busting: May Day Call to Action

This is a joint call to action by the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) and Starbucks Workers United regarding protests taking place on May 1, 2022, the international workers’ day.Workers at these two companies have scored some of the most important union organizing victories in the United States in decades. Starbucks workers have unionized 17 stores across the country; workers at the ubiquitous coffee retailer in another 170 locations in 30 states are slated to cast ballots in union elections in coming months. On April 1, the ALU won a landmark representation vote at JFK8, Amazon’s giant fulfillment center in Staten Island, New York, employing 8,000 workers; round two for the ALU is taking place April 25-29 at the adjacent LDJ5, Amazon’s sorting facility employing 1,600 people, with results to be announced in early May.

ALU, Round Two: ‘Be Part of a Movement. Vote Yes at LDJ5!’

STATEN ISLAND, New York — “Be a part of something truly great,” said Amazon Labor Union (ALU) treasurer Maddie Wesley. “Be part of a movement,” she added, urging her 1,600 coworkers at LDJ5, Amazon’s sort facility here, to vote for the ALU in the representation election taking place April 25-29. “This is just the beginning. This is a call for all of you to join our brothers and sisters… at JFK8 and join ALU Local #1!” Speaking at a spirited pre-election rally here on Sunday, April 24, Wesley was referring to Amazon’s giant fulfillment center, employing about 8,000 people, where the ALU won a landmark vote on April 1. The victory of the ALU, an independent worker-led union, has inspired many in the labor movement and beyond. The atmosphere here on Sunday afternoon was electric. ALU president Chris Smalls chaired the rally of about 300 people who came together to urge a “Yes” vote the day before the election began. Four workers at LDJ5 addressed those gathered and expressed cautious optimism about the ALU’s chances of unionizing a second Amazon facility.

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Build Amazon Labor Union April 24 Rally! ALU: ‘Vote Yes at LDJ5!’

STATEN ISLAND, New York — At an April 8 press conference — more like a workers’ rally — here, Amazon Labor Union (ALU) organizers called on union members and supporters to focus their efforts over the next two weeks on winning the upcoming union vote at LDJ5. This is Amazon’s sort facility across the street from JFK8, the company’s giant fulfillment center employing 8,000 workers, where the ALU just won a landmark union election. The ALU urged everyone to join an April 24 rally in front of LD5. While describing the key lessons of how a team of rank-and-file workers organized Amazon’s first warehouse in the U.S., ALU members also drew attention to the main tasks ahead: the election campaign at LDJ5, beating Amazon’s challenge to the JFK8 victory, unifying the workforce to fight for a contract, and a nationwide organizing campaign.

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ALU Union Songs

These are the lyrics of three union songs written by Tristan “Lion” Dutchin, and videos of their performances. The Amazon Labor Union (ALU) organizer sung the first two with fellow organizer Justine Medina at an April 8, 2022, ALU press conference outside LDJ5, Amazon’s sort center on Staten Island, New York, where a union vote is set to take place April 25-29. Tristan performed the third song, “Election Time,” at a February 22, 2022, ALU fundraiser held at the People’s Forum in New York City. The artist sent the lyrics and the “Election Time” video clip to World-Outlook. We are publishing them because of their artistic value and the inspiration they continue to provide to ALU’s magnificent organizing campaigns.

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‘When We Unite Together, We Win’

This is a Reporters’ Notebook. It is based on conversations World-Outlook reporter Mark Satinoff held with Amazon Labor Union (ALU) members on April 1, 2022, outside the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Brooklyn, New York. Satinoff interviewed the Amazon workers in the hours leading up to the announcement of ALU’s monumental victory in the union election at JFK8 — the company’s giant fulfillment center in the New York City area, a key market for Amazon. The interviews point to how Amazon workers organized themselves to make this victory possible. They also outline the union’s next steps ahead, detailing how these workers plan to carry out the ALU pledge in the union’s recent newsletter, which says: “With this first historic victory in the record books, we now turn our attention to the election campaign at LDJ5, the bargaining process for the unionized workers at JFK8, and our nationwide organizing and training campaign launching soon. If you work at Amazon, anywhere in the country, and you want to unionize your workplace, get in touch. We are here to support and empower our coworkers everywhere. When we unite together, we win. Hasta la victoria siempre.” — ALU Newsletter #16

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The Workers Have Spoken! Amazon Labor Union Scores Major Victory in NY

BROOKLYN, NY, April 1, 2022—Workers at JFK8, Amazon’s giant warehouse on Staten Island, voted by a large margin for representation by the Amazon Labor Union. It is the most significant union organizing victory in the United States in decades—a milestone for the labor movement. According to the NLRB, 2,654 workers voted for representation by the ALU and 2,131 against. This means that nearly 55% of the 4,785 workers who cast ballots voted yes, and 45% no—a 10 percent margin of victory. “Today the people have spoken, and the people wanted a union,” ALU president Chris Smalls told supporters. Smalls uncorked a bottle of champagne outside the NLRB offices when the final tally came through.

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Minneapolis Teachers End Strike, Make Gains

MINNEAPOLIS, March 29, 2022— After a 14-day strike that was the first in Minneapolis in 50 years, teachers and education support professionals (ESPs) returned to the classroom on Monday, March 28. They had just approved a contract that their union leadership touted as achieving significant gains. The district’s 28,500 students returned the next day. The contract includes significant raises for ESPs, bringing them close to the union’s demand for a $35,000 starting salary, with wages increasing from about $20 to nearly $24 per hour. ESPs will also get $6,000 bonuses, with those serving more than 10 years getting another $1,000. The union won its demand for mental health support teams in elementary schools and the placement of a social worker in every building. In addition, for the first time, class size caps are now in contract language, instead of a memorandum of agreement that has no teeth.

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Amazon Labor Union Pre-Election Rally: ‘Vote Yes!’ – Updated

STATEN ISLAND, New York, March 20, 2022 — “We will win! We will win!” reverberated across the main entrance to Amazon’s JFK8 giant fulfillment center this afternoon. About 300 Amazon warehouse workers and their supporters rallied here to boost the efforts by the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) to win representation for more than 7,000 workers employed at JFK8. Workers will vote in person March 25-30 in a large tent set up in front of the facility.

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Minneapolis Teachers Strike for Living Wages and Better Support for Students

MINNEAPOLIS, March 12, 2022—For the first time since 1970, more than 4,500 members of Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Educational Support Professionals Local 59 walked off the job on Tuesday, March 8. Teachers are demanding from the district to limit class sizes, pay for additional mental health support for students, and increase wages for classroom teachers and the 1,600 education support professionals (ESPs). The strike is getting widespread support from parents, students, and the broader community. 

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Union Steps Up Efforts as Election Is Set for Second NY Amazon Warehouse

NEW YORK CITY, March 7, 2022—The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has certified that the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) has collected enough signatures to get an election at LDJ5. This is the second fulfillment center of the retail giant in this area where workers have secured the right to a union vote. An upcoming NLRB hearing on March 14 will hash out the logistics of the LDJ5 election, according to ALU president Christian Smalls.

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Railroad Workers Keep Up Resistance to BNSF ‘Hi-Viz’ Policy

March 2, 2022—As locomotive engineer Marilee Taylor explained in the February 11 post on World-Outlook “BNSF Railroad Workers Resist Cruel Attendance Policy,” workers at the largest freight railroad (RR) in the U.S. are under fierce attack by the company owned by billionaire Warren Buffett. Workers who move the freight—engineers, conductors, brakemen and switchmen—frequently face work weeks of 60 hours or more, producing enormous profits for Buffett and the other wealthy RR owners. Many are on call to work 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with little or no predictability about when they will be called to work. Shifts are routinely 12 hours and perhaps longer before workers arrive at a destination where they can obtain some rest, often a hotel far from home. Trains are longer and heavier than ever, often carrying hazardous material, as the RRs seek to squeeze the maximum profit out of every trip. This poses serious safety risks for RR workers and the communities these trains pass through. Now Buffett’s BNSF wants more. It has imposed a new policy, called “Hi-Viz,” that demands employees to work even more hours. This cruel and dangerous policy has been upheld by a federal court judge who has ruled that the unions’ challenge to this policy is a “minor dispute,” and has denied the right to strike to oppose it.

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Union Vote Set at NY Amazon Warehouse

NEW YORK CITY, February 23, 2022 — “This is our moment in history. We will carry this down to our children and our children’s’ children. We have been organizing for two years in the rain, snow, ice storms, and heat. We’re going to beat this trillion-dollar company and we’re broke as hell,” said Chris Smalls, president of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU). “I won’t sleep for the next 35 days. We’ve got to stay together. We’re going to win this!” Smalls was addressing about 70 people at an ALU fundraiser at the People’s Forum in midtown Manhattan on February 18. The event was also a celebration of a step forward by the workers in their union organizing drive. A day earlier, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) set March 25-30 as the dates for a union representation election to take place in person at JFK8. This is Amazon’s main fulfillment center in the New York City area employing about 5,500 workers. The ALU is a grassroots group organized by warehouse workers with no affiliation to any established national trade union. In addition to JFK8, ALU is seeking to organize Amazon’s other three adjacent facilities on Staten Island: LDJ5, DYY6, and DYX2. In fact, on February 2, as the NLRB certified that the ALU had filed enough signatures to secure a union vote at JFK8, organizers filed petitions seeking a union representation election at LDJ5.

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BNSF Railroad Workers Resist Cruel Attendance Policy

This is a letter to the editor by railroad worker Marilee Taylor, who is a member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen (BLET). She explains: “I am currently a locomotive engineer, employed at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway (BNSF) in Chicago. I have worked for Burlington Northern (BN) and then BNSF for more than 28 years. I’d like to take a minute to introduce the video posted below [produced by More Perfect Union and titled “Railroad Workers Barred from Striking.”] On February 1, 2022, BNSF imposed a draconian attendance policy on those of us who work in the operating crafts, engineers, conductors, switchmen and brakemen. That is, those of us who actually move the freight on trains across the country from Chicago to the West Coast and back. The video helps us to get the truth out about the issues involved and the dangers of the forced BNSF’s attendance policy aimed at denying railroad (RR) operating employees, who already often work 60 hours a week or more, any quality of life at all. Most importantly the video focuses on how this policy will dangerously affect our own safety as workers, and the safety of all our communities. The risk of more rail accidents and potential disasters affects the entire country.”

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CA Striking Bakery Workers Win Community/Labor Support

SANTA FE SPRINGS, California—Since November 3, nearly 175 workers, primarily Latinas, have been on strike against the Rich Products Corporation, a large transnational frozen foods company. The Jon Donaire Deserts plant here makes ice cream cakes that are widely distributed, including at stores like Baskin Robbins, Cold Stone, Walmart, and Von. In total, the company employs about 11,000 people. The workers are on strike demanding higher wages and improved health care from a company that had $4 billion in revenue in 2021, and whose owner, Bob Rich Jr., is valued at nearly $7.5 billion according to

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Free Rogel Aguilera! Reverse Gross Class Injustice

DENVER, CO, January 11, 2022—Working people and all supporters of democratic rights should express solidarity with Rogel Aguilera Mederos and demand he be immediately freed from prison. The truck driver was involved in a tragic 28-vehicle pileup caused by a failure of the brakes in the semi he was driving while descending a mountainous section of the I-70 highway in Lakewood, a suburb of Denver. The April 2019 accident resulted in the death of four people. After a jury found Aguilera guilty last October of four counts of vehicular homicide and 23 other criminal offenses, a judge sentenced him to an incredible 110 years behind bars! The news of such cruel and unusual punishment struck a chord with millions around the world who quickly expressed indignation at the draconian sentence.

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An Evening at Amazon Labor Union Organizing Center

This is a Reporter’s Notebook based on a November 3, 2021, visit by World-Outlook editor Argiris Malapanis to the Amazon Labor Union organizing tent in front of the JFK8 Amazon fulfillment center on Staten Island, New York. It is a supplement to the news article “NY Amazon Workers File for Union Recognition,” published on World-Outlook November 4, 2021. It paints a more detailed picture of how rank-and-file workers lead this impressive unionization effort.

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NY Amazon Workers File for Union Recognition

NEW YORK CITY, November 3, 2021—Amazon warehouse workers in New York took a big step toward unionization on October 25, when they filed more than 2,000 signatures with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) seeking a union representation election. World-Outlook visited the union organizing center and spoke with Chris Smalls and other workers.
The Amazon Labor Union (ALU), a grassroots group organized by warehouse workers, is leading the organizing drive. With no affiliation to any of the established national trade unions, the ALU is trying to unionize the approximately 7,000 workers employed in four warehouses—the JFK8 on Staten Island and surrounding facilities dubbed LDJ5, DYY6 and DYX2. Amazon uses these warehouses to fulfill orders in the huge New York market.
If successful, the outcome will reverberate through the working class and labor movement in the United States. These workers know they are challenging a powerful enemy.

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