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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 bloomberg.com.
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.
April 15, 2021—Pro-union workers suffered a setback in their effort to organize the giant Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. They lost the vote for union representation by a margin of 738 ballots cast in favor to 1798 against. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Workers Union (RWDSU), which was seeking to represent them, said it plans to challenge the result and will ask federal labor officials to investigate Amazon for creating an “atmosphere of confusion, coercion and/or fear of reprisals.”
April 2, 2021—The vote at Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, closed March 29. The fight to establish a union there, however, is far from over.
Mar. 26, 2021— Workers in Bessemer, Alabama, are engaged in one of the most important union-organizing drives in recent years. Their goal is to win representation by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) at the giant Amazon warehouse there. Voting by mail by the 5,805 workers began in February. It closes March 29. The outcome can have far-reaching implications for the working class and the labor movement in the United States.