Newsletter

Newsletter

You can read the the text of every ALU newsletter below. For the full experience, with all embedded images, tweets, GIFs, etc., you can subscribe to the email newsletter or read any issue online at Substack: amazonlaborunion.substack.com.  


Final score: 2,654 to 2,131, ALU for the win.

Yesterday, the workers of Amazon in Staten Island made history. We accomplished what most thought impossible, including even sympathetic labor experts, politicians, and union organizers. We unionized the second largest private employer in the United States, a corporation designed from its inception in 1994 to optimize the exploitation of workers and aggressively “crush unions,” as The New York Times detailed in a lengthy Amazon exposé published just days before the ALU launched last year.

The Times has rightly described our electoral victory as “One of the biggest wins for organized labor in a generation." This is the single largest union election win in many decades. As Bloomberg Law noted just before the ALU launch, in the entire period since they “started tracking NLRB data in the late 1980s, only six union petitions that targeted 5,000 or more unorganized workers have made it to the election stage.” Amazon’s official count of the workforce at JFK8 was over 8,000 workers—and we called, texted, emailed, and reached out in person to all of them. Newspapers around the world yesterday heralded this as a historic moment for the labor movement. This was no April Fool’s joke: this is really happening.

We’ve done it all as an independent, democratic, worker-led union, with a shoestring budget of GoFundMe donations, an improvisational strategy, and a lot of heart, doing the hard work of learning and building our capacities as we advance in our campaign for worker power and dignity. We’ve organized a workplace of thousands of workers who reside across the five boroughs and the tri-state area, without affiliating with any established union. We’re proving the power of workers to launch, lead, grow, and win brand new labor unions in any industry.

We’re very proud of our independence and worker leadership, and we’re committed to this direct democratic model of organizing as a strategy that we’re encouraging and training other workers to employ. But we’re also very grateful to the solidarity support we’ve received from all of our volunteers and local labor allies, including from UNITE HERE, the United Food and Commercial Workers, the Office and Professional Employees International Union, the Communication Workers of America, and the Workers Assembly Against Racism, among many others. In this victory, we’re also proving the power in labor unity.

We’ve achieved this historic win in the face of the vast arsenal of illegal and devious union-busting tactics deployed by Chairman Bezos and his well-paid minions: tens of millions of dollars spent on secret surveillance, covert infiltration, HR retaliation, police harassment, petty interference, constant disinformation, and suppression and destruction of our union materials. Amazon’s corporate strategy is to breed fear, confusion, distrust, and futility thinking among our coworkers. But we’ve met fear with our faith in the cause. We’ve dispelled confusion with our clear communication. We’ve overcome distrust with our solidarity and mutual aid. And we’ve dismantled futility thinking with our actions and accomplishments.

This is just the beginning, and there is so much more work to be done, but never again can anyone plausibly suggest that there is a workplace that cannot be unionized, or that workers cannot win it for ourselves without the resources and experience of formal affiliation with an established union. We are the proof. If we can unionize Amazon—a small, scrappy group of worker volunteers forging connections with a sprawling workforce of many thousands, in an infamously anti-union corporation with unprecedented power, which has repeatedly proven itself willing to spend millions of dollars and violate federal laws dozens of times to crush organizing—then workers anywhere can unionize their workplaces. That means you.

If you don’t have a union in your workplace, now is the time to start organizing one. If you work at Amazon and have been watching and supporting the ALU from the sidelines, now is the time to step up and assume responsibility and leadership. We still need all of the help we can get to accomplish the historic feats we have ahead of us. We need you to get involved.

There is some poetic justice in the timing of the events that have defined this campaign. Our victorious election at JFK8 ended on March 30, exactly two years to the day after Amazon management fired founding ALU President Chris Smalls for leading a walkout to protest Amazon’s criminally negligent and fatal COVID-19 policies, along with other founding ALU members including Vice President Derrick Palmer, Jordan Flowers, and Gerald Bryson, who was also fired in retaliation soon after (a violation for which the NLRB is suing Amazon).

The decisive NLRB election count took place exactly two years after Jeff Bezos and his top executives met to discuss how to discredit Chris in the national press. “Make him the most interesting part of the story, and if possible make him the face of the entire union/organizing movement,” wrote Amazon General Counsel David Zapolsky in notes from the meeting that were leaked to VICE. “He’s not smart, or articulate, and to the extent the press wants to focus on us versus him, we will be in a much stronger PR position,” Zapolsky reasoned, noting that there was “general agreement” on this racist smear campaign strategy, including from then-CEO Jeff Bezos, Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations Dave Clark, and Senior Vice President of Human Resources Beth Galetti. How wrong they were—not just morally, but strategically. “Ironically, he said to make me the face of the whole unionizing effort,” Chris recalled, “so I said, ‘OK, that’s a good idea.’”

The ALU was launched just days after Amazon succeeded in illegally manipulating the union election at BHM1 in Bessemer, Alabama in their favor. And our first election count at JFK8 took place at exactly the same time as the RWDSU’s still-undecided second election count in Bessemer. While we wish the best for our fellow Amazon workers still fighting to win union representation in Alabama, we also see in the contrast of our decisive win and their contested defeat a clear validation of our independent, worker-led organizing approach. People said it couldn’t be done, especially at Amazon, but now everybody knows: anything is possible.

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 News

People’s World: Amazon Labor Union builds community coalition to organize retail giant in Staten Island

Amazon News

Union News

Help Support Our Organizers In Need

If you believe in the justice of the ALU cause and the importance of mutual aid, perhaps you can contribute some funds to our worker organizers who have faced hardship and retaliation by Amazon management for their fearless organizing and still continue to struggle:

GoFundMe: Gerald was Illegally Fired by Amazon

GoFundMe: Help Jason Anthony to cover monthly expenses

GoFundMe: Daequan was illegally fired and is now homeless

Any contributions at all are greatly appreciated! Thank you for your support and solidarity!

Until Next Week!

If you have a story or news tip you want to contribute to our newsletter, or any other comments or questions, please email amazonlaborunion@gmail.com.

Follow and boost ALU on social media!

In just five days, the ALU’s first election will begin, and JFK8 workers will finally get to vote for their union. The National Labor Relations Board will be running the election inside a large tent in front of JFK8 on March 25, 26, 28, 29, and 30, from 8am to 1pm and 8pm to 1am.

All eligible JFK8 workers can vote on any of those dates during the voting hours, whether scheduled to work or not. Amazon must allow workers to be excused to vote at any time, and managers cannot pressure workers to wait to vote at some other time. There will be observers from the ALU and Amazon on hand to ensure a fair vote, and officials from the NLRB will be in charge of managing and supervising the election.

And even more great news: the ALU now has an election date for LDJ5—in just one month! It’s official: voting will take place for LDJ5 workers on April 25, 27, 28, 29. More details will follow, after we win this first election and celebrate! We’ve got the momentum!

Speaking of celebrating…TODAY, SUNDAY, MARCH 20, at 3:30 pm we’re holding a rally across the street from JFK8 at the S40 bus stop, our main base of operations since the start of the struggle, to celebrate everything that this historic campaign has accomplished, and to hear from coworkers about why the union is so important to build worker power and make the changes at our workplace that we need to make. Some local politicos will also show up to offer support and speak to the power of our movement. Also sponsoring the event are allies from the College of Staten Island Faculty & Staff for Amazon Workers, Peace Action Staten Island, Sustainable Staten Island, Communication Workers of America Local 1102, Democratic Socialists of America—Staten Island, and UNITE HERE Local 100.

Amazon management has tried so many devious and illegal tactics to prevent our elections from even taking place, and they continue to break the law on a daily basis to make sure that the election is not conducted in a free and fair environment—but we’ve made it all the way here despite their best efforts. Meanwhile, the NLRB just determined that Amazon illegally fired ALU organizer Gerald Bryson in retaliation for organizing and has filed an emergency injunction to have Amazon reinstate him. Just in case anyone was in doubt about who is on the side of the workers in this struggle, and who are the baddies, Amazon is not cooperating with the NLRB demand to reinstate Gerald. Their lawyers will be seeing the NLRB in court.

Amazon management has also been making radical changes in policy which impose new burdens on workers in the middle of this election period—including eliminating the use of AtoZ to clock in and out of work, enforcing a new mandatory footwear policy, effectively eliminating overtime for a large number of workers, and threatening to enforce an imminent no-cellphone policy. So we’ve made a list of 8 demands for immediate Amazon policy changes that would actually help workers, including changes in health and safety, pay, promotions, overtime, working conditions, transportation, time, and union-busting. You can see them all by following the Twitter thread below or by visiting the ALU website.

Amazon management has been putting up VOTE NO signs all over the workplace and sending anti-union propaganda to workers on a weekly basis. But the ALU just gave out 1,000 VOTE YES lanyards to workers in no time at all, and we have another 1,000 lanyards scheduled for giveaway in the next couple of days, so we’re feeling pretty good about things!

We’ve been on the phones talking to workers every day about the upcoming election, and the responses we’ve heard are overwhelmingly in favor of the ALU. Last week, actress and activist Susan Sarandon visited our phone bank event at the UNITE HERE offices to offer her encouragement to our campaign, and even former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich just went on the record to say it’s time to #UnionizeAmazon!

We’ve managed to accomplish what many thought was impossible: our all-volunteer, independent, democratic, worker-run union finally made it to our first election week!

But there are still no days off for the ALU! We’ll be working every day to win this election and win democratic power and a better contract for all our Amazon coworkers in Staten Island.

We will continue to remind workers that nothing is impossible when we unite together.

We hope to see you at the JFK8 rally today at 3:30!

ALU News

Amazon News

Union News

Help Support Our Organizers In Need

If you believe in the justice of the ALU cause and the importance of mutual aid, perhaps you can contribute some funds to our worker organizers who have faced hardship and retaliation by Amazon management for their fearless organizing and still continue to struggle:

GoFundMe: Gerald was Illegally Fired by Amazon

GoFundMe: Help Jason Anthony to cover monthly expenses

GoFundMe: Daequan was illegally fired and is now homeless

Any contributions at all are greatly appreciated! Thank you for your support and solidarity!

Until Next Week!

If you have a story or news tip you want to contribute to our newsletter, or any other comments or questions, please email amazonlaborunion@gmail.com.

Follow and boost ALU on social media!

Just some quick action updates for this week! We are just two weeks away from our first union election for the workers at JFK8, and we need all the help we can get to make phone calls to all of our coworkers in the building, informing them about the union and the election, countering Amazon management’s lies, and answering all worker questions and concerns.

If you or anyone else you know can help out on the phones, please get involved right away! You can even call workers from the comfort of your own home, using the NationBuilder FieldEdge app. Sign up to volunteer on our NationBuilder Action Portal, or email our ALU field director Mitch, for more information.

Upcoming dates for in-person phone-banking events:

FRIDAY, March 11, 2022, 12:00pm-9:00pm, UNITE HERE Office, 275 7th Avenue, 16th Floor, New York, 10001

SATURDAY, March 12, 2022, 9:00am-9:00pm, WAAR Office, 147 West 24th Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10011

MONDAY, March 14, 2022, 9:00am-9:00pm, WAAR Office, 147 West 24th Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10011

TUESDAY, March 15, 2022, 9:00am-9:00pm, WAAR Office, 147 West 24th Street, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10011

• WEDNESDAY, March 16, 2022, 6:00pm-9:00pm, CPUSA HQ, 235 West 23rd Street, 7th Floor, 10011

• WEDNESDAY, March 23, 2022, 6:00pm-9:00pm, CPUSA HQ, 235 West 23rd Street, 7th Floor, 10011

We’re also hosting a fundraiser after our marathon phone banking event tomorrow at the Starr Bar in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Please come out to join in our celebration of worker democracy, and bring your friends and comrades!

FRIDAY, March 11, 8pm-12am, Starr Bar, 214 Starr Street, Brooklyn, NY, 11237 

Lastly, we’ll be rallying in front of JFK8 and LDJ5 on March 20, starting at 4pm. Show your solidarity as we show our strength in numbers outside our Amazon workplace next Sunday! We’ll have more information about the rally in the upcoming newsletter!

ALU News

Amazon News

Union News

Help Support Our Organizers In Need

If you believe in the justice of the ALU cause and the importance of mutual aid, perhaps you can contribute some funds to our worker organizers who have faced hardship and retaliation by Amazon management for their fearless organizing and still continue to struggle:

GoFundMe: Gerald was Illegally Fired by Amazon

GoFundMe: Help Jason Anthony to cover monthly expenses

GoFundMe: Daequan was illegally fired and is now homeless

Any contributions at all are greatly appreciated! Thank you for your support and solidarity!

Until Next Week!

If you have a story or news tip you want to contribute to our newsletter, or any other comments or questions, please email amazonlaborunion@gmail.com.

Follow and boost ALU on social media!

We’re on the move. Just two weeks after officially winning our first NLRB petition for election and setting our JFK8 election date for March 25-30, the ALU has already won our second petition for an election at LDJ5. More details about that election will follow after the NLRB hearing in a couple of weeks. Soon enough, we will have union elections at all four of the Staten Island facilities, and then at warehouses all over the country. Amazon workers everywhere are realizing what we are worth, what we should expect and demand, and what collective power we have to make the necessary changes to our workplaces.

We’re putting ourselves together, we’re polishing up our act. Now is a critical time to help out the ALU campaign with phone banking, door knocking, flyer distribution, event support, and more, as we are in the heat of the campaign to win our first union election for the workers at JFK8, followed shortly by our second election for the workers at LDJ5. If you want to get involved in the ALU’s historic campaign for worker empowerment at Amazon, please sign up right now in our Action Portal!

If you’re an Amazon worker at Staten Island, you can get involved in our Sunday meetings, weekly meals, break room occupations, and other events. Email info@amazonlaborunion.org with your shift and phone number, and we’ll connect you with a coworker in your department for more information about how to participate.

Come out to the Vote Yes Potluck this Saturday, March 5, in the JFK8 3rd floor main break room! (Day Shift 1 PM – 3 PM, Night Shift 11 PM – 1 AM). We’ll be talking about the election, the importance of the campaign, the benefits of the union, the demands shared by the workers, the lies of the management, and the excitement of our impending victory for worker power. Bring food, bring questions, and bring friends!

There's been so many things that’s held us down, but now it looks like things are finally coming around. Amazon management is terrified by the enthusiastic worker support for the ALU—despite the millions of dollars they’ve been spending on high-priced union-busting consultants, lawyers, and propaganda—and now their opposition tactics have reached a new level of desperation. Last Wednesday afternoon, Director of Operations Felipe Santos called the NYPD to arrest ALU President Chris Smalls for “trespassing,” because he was at JFK8 giving four large trays of food to a colleague for our weekly union lunch.

Before Chris had a chance to return to his car and leave, over a dozen NYPD officers pulled up and began to harass him, along with ALU worker-organizers Brett Daniels and Jason Anthony. The police assaulted Jason, who has a disability, causing him both physical harm and mental distress, and then arrested all three ALU members and detained them at the precinct station. This is the second time that the NYPD has arrested Brett at the urging of the Amazon bosses, after a scandalous incident of police harassment in November at the ALU tent by the bus stop.

www.FelipeDropTheCharges.com

We are calling on Felipe Santos to immediately drop all charges and apologize to the ALU organizers whom he illegally retaliated against in the midst of a union election campaign. We have filed Unfair Labor Practice charges against Amazon with the NLRB regarding this clear abuse of authority and assault on free and fair elections—now one of 18 open ULP cases filed against Amazon in Staten Island since our ALU campaign began last April. Amazon bosses keep on breaking the law, and somehow ALU worker-organizers keep on getting arrested for it! But we’ll just keep on keeping on, marching forward towards victory.

(Sign the change.org petition: Felipe Santos, Drop All Charges and Apologize to Arrested ALU Organizers)

If you’ve ever been held down before, I know you’ll refuse to be held down any more. No amount of police harassment, HR warnings, or management discipline can stop us from organizing with our coworkers to defend our rights and dignity. Just a few days after the arrests, the ALU held a rally of solidarity between Amazon and Starbucks union efforts at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. ALU members called out the abuse and retaliation by Amazon management, and the constant police presence used to stifle our rights to organize as workers—to stop us from winning the union recognition that police officers themselves already enjoy.

No amount of Amazon misinformation and fearmongering by union-busting consultants, HR stooges, and management lackeys can stop our growing awareness of our collective power, or our will to use it. Amazon bosses can assault workers with a constant barrage of anti-union propaganda, through A to Z messages, emails, text messages, “One Team” and “Vote NO” letters sent to our homes, signs on break room tables, ads on workplace TVs, notices in bathroom “inSTALLments,” workplace interviews with roaming consultants, and “captive audience” meetings, but they cannot overcome the obvious truth: there is no “One Team.”

The team that workers need is the Amazon Labor Union, the team made by the workers, of the workers, for the workers, to defend and empower workers through democracy, solidarity, and mutual aid, to rise up and demand a new contract, to oppose and finally end the long train of abuses and usurpations by Amazon autocrats and their well-paid management henchmen—who are decidedly not on our team. Without the ALU, Amazon workers have no team at all.

Jeff Bezos is not on our team: he thinks Amazon workers are “inherently lazy,” and has “intentionally limited upward mobility for hourly workers,” designing Amazon to aggressively fire workers at an annual rate of 150% because he “didn’t want hourly workers to stick around for long” and “did not want an entrenched work force, calling it ‘a march to mediocrity.’

(Read: “The Amazon That Customers Don’t See,” The New York Times, June 15, 2021)

Felipe Santos is not on our team, the highly-paid Harvard MBA who exploits and abuses thousands of Staten Island workers in unsafe warehouse conditions, who repeatedly calls the police to arrest worker organizers, and who broadcasts endless lies to confuse workers about voting for the union that is in our obvious best interests. Felipe Santos is, like his doppelgänger on Amazon Music, a producer of “todo mentiras,” all lies. Amazon managers can’t help but lie, because the truth is that workers deserve better, management will never give it to us without a fight, and our labor union is the only way for us to win what we deserve.

I know we’ve got a long, long way to go, and where we’ll end up, I don’t know. We have two elections to win right now, two more election petitions in Staten Island to file, a long process of collective bargaining to negotiate and win a new contract with Amazon management, and a nationwide organizing and expansion campaign to plan and implement in the months ahead—among many other tasks. We know that Jeff Bezos, Andy Jassy, Dave Clark, and the whole Amazon army of executives and managers will never let up in their aggressive antagonism to our efforts, and we know there are still challenges and setbacks to come on our road to victory.

But we won’t let nothing hold us back. We’ve built too much collective power and too much momentum to be contained by the bosses’ petty schemes at this point. Regardless of any of the difficulties to come, regardless of all of the daunting work still to be done, we know that we’ve already won, and that the inevitable organization of Amazon labor unions across the entire United States is now only a matter time. It is no longer a question of whether the nationwide unionization of Amazon will happen but when. There ain’t no stopping us now.

ALU News

Amazon News

Union News

Help Support Our Organizers In Need

If you believe in the justice of the ALU cause and the importance of mutual aid, perhaps you can contribute some funds to our worker organizers who have faced hardship and retaliation by Amazon management for their fearless organizing and still continue to struggle:

GoFundMe: Gerald was Illegally Fired by Amazon

GoFundMe: Help Jason Anthony to cover monthly expenses

GoFundMe: Daequan was illegally fired and is now homeless

Any contributions at all are greatly appreciated! Thank you for your support and solidarity!

Until Next Week!

If you have a story or news tip you want to contribute to our newsletter, or any other comments or questions, please email amazonlaborunion@gmail.com.

Follow and boost ALU on social media!

It’s official: the ALU election for JFK8 has been confirmed by the NLRB, and the election dates have been set for March 25-30. There is no turning back now: we will continue marching forward until victory. Amazon has already begun informing workers of the election, telling them directly to “make your voice heard, and vote NO,” to defeat the very means by which workers actually make their voice heard: an independent, democratic, worker-led labor union. As usual, the bosses are breaking the law in their union-busting schemes, and are violating the national settlement that they only recently signed, vowing not to do just what they are doing.

Now is the time to step up: for the next crucial month of the campaign, we need every bit of help from all of our coworkers, friends, and allies to counteract Amazon’s lies, intimidation, and fear tactics, in order to ensure that all of our Amazon coworkers know exactly why a labor union is such a necessary defender of our rights and interests, and why every worker’s active support and participation in their union is so important for its ongoing success and theirs.

Spread the news to everyone you know, and join in the movement however you can. We will be phone-banking, door-knocking, tent-pitching, card-signing, breakroom-occupying, fund-raising, consciousness-raising, and hell-raising until every single Amazon worker knows what’s at stake in this election and who is really on their side. We encourage everyone to get in touch and get involved in this historic labor campaign, and invite your friends along too!

Join us tomorrow at The People’s Forum in Manhattan, from 6 to 10 pm, for an ALU election celebration and fundraiser, featuring musical performances by Duendita, Cedric St Louis, and the ALU’s own Justine Grove. While we enjoy some good tunes, good food, and each others’ good company, we will discuss the details of the upcoming election and everything we need to accomplish to ensure the victory of the workers over the criminal tactics of the Amazon union-busters. All donation proceeds will go to support our campaign for union victory.

We have a new website with answers to common questions about the union and the election campaign, information on Amazon’s crimes and abuses, a database of news articles and videos about the Amazon Labor Union, digital resources including brochures and flyers, and links to all of our social media channels. When workers have questions about the union, you can tell them that the website is a great resource for reliable information, organized as a volunteer labor of love by Amazon workers ourselves, and not high-priced union-busters determined to deceive workers through misinformation.

Amazon is pulling out all the stops to defeat our campaign, spending millions on union-busting consultants, repeatedly breaking the law, threatening workers, spying on and retaliating against our organizers, destroying our organizing tent, sending police to harass us, and so much more, because they know just how much is at stake in this election. They know that after 28 years of successfully busting union campaigns at Amazon in the United States, if they fail to defeat our efforts in Staten Island, they will be facing an unstoppable nationwide wave of ALU election victories in the months and years to come—and a movement of workers who are finally empowered to organize, defend ourselves, and demand what we deserve.

They know that if we can make it here, we’ll make it anywhere.

It’s up to you, New York, New York.

ALU News

Amazon News

Union News

Help Support Our Organizers In Need

If you believe in the justice of the ALU cause and the importance of mutual aid, perhaps you can contribute some funds to our worker organizers who have faced hardship and retaliation by Amazon management for their fearless organizing and still continue to struggle:

GoFundMe: Gerald was Illegally Fired by Amazon

GoFundMe: Help Jason Anthony to cover monthly expenses

GoFundMe: Daequan was illegally fired and is now homeless

Any contributions at all are greatly appreciated! Thank you for your support and solidarity!

Until Next Week!

If you have a story or news tip you want to contribute to our newsletter, or any other comments or questions, please email amazonlaborunion@gmail.com.

Follow and boost ALU on social media!

Let 2022 be the Year of the Union. After nine months of tireless volunteer worker organizing (which is very tiring, really) and two election petitions filed, the ALU received confirmation from the National Labor Relations Board last week that we’ve demonstrated sufficient interest to move forward with an election to represent the workers at the JFK8 Fulfillment Center. That means that over thirty percent of our current coworkers have already pledged support for the ALU in writing—and there are still so many more we haven’t yet reached, but we will!

It is now time—it is well past time—for worker democracy to become a reality at Amazon in the United States. But we must remain active and vigilant against every petty, cynical attempt by Amazon management to sabotage a fair election—which they fear and despise—and to undermine our worker rights to “full freedom of association, self-organization, and designation of representatives of [our] own choosing, for the purpose of negotiating the terms and conditions of [our] employment,” as the National Labor Relations Act promises us. We’ve already charged Amazon with about twenty Unfair Labor Practices before the NLRB, won a national settlement, initiated several lawsuits, and we’re not even halfway to victory yet! Along the way, we’ve supported our coworkers with meals, financial aid, work advice, training, music, encouragement, camaraderie, a vision of justice, and a cause worth fighting for.

This is what democracy looks like: working people organizing together in solidarity and mutual aid, in defense against the abuses and usurpations of petty tyrants. Power to the people: this is the literal root of the word “democracy.”

This election news may seem like déjà vu to many of you: NLRB representatives did also say we had the numbers when we filed our first election petition back in October, before they reversed course under intense Amazonian pressure and swiftly invalidated nearly half of our worker cards without a clear explanation or a chance at rebuttal. A major cause of that setback was the notorious employee turnover at Amazon, which meant that a large percentage of coworkers who signed up in the first six months of the campaign had been fired or quit by the time we filed. But we’ve been working hard to make up for those lost cards at an accelerated pace (even in organizing, Amazon forces us to make rate), and this time, the NLRB apparently confirmed our numbers with Amazon’s employee roster before issuing their determination.

We’ve decided to file our petitions warehouse-by-warehouse instead of all at once in Staten Island in order to limit Amazon’s opportunities to employ any more workforce shenanigans to undermine our petitions. And so just days after the NLRB approved our JFK8 petition, with thousands of authorization cards, we filed another petition with hundreds more cards signed by our coworkers at the LDJ5 Sort Center across the street from JFK8. The DYY6 and DYX2 warehouse election petitions will be coming soon!

We’ve got our eyes on the prize, and we certainly can’t be cited for any Time Off Task. In a couple of weeks, ALU representatives will attend a hearing with the NLRB and representatives from Amazon to hash out the election details for JFK8 (and probably face down a barrage of baseless objections from our adversary’s corporate lawyers). As soon as we reach an election agreement with the details and date of the election, and we get our hands on that employee roster that Amazon management jealously guards, we will be kicking into high gear on our Get Out The Vote campaign with all of our JFK8 coworkers. Then we’ll do the same thing for LDJ5, then for DYY6, DYX2, and for warehouses throughout the country.

The second Amazon union election in Bessemer, Alabama begins today, and the mail-in ballot period will run through March. Just as the RWDSU’s first effort helped inspire the launch of the ALU campaign last April, our campaign is inspiring Amazon workers across the country who are reaching out for guidance and support in how to begin organizing their warehouses. And just as the election victories of the workers organizing at Starbucks in Buffalo have ignited a nationwide movement with workers at more than fifty Starbucks stores already filing petitions for union elections in the span of a few months, our victories in Staten Island will help catalyze a worker power movement at Amazon that the bosses will not be able to stop.

Jeff Bezos, Earth’s Greatest Union-Buster, may be able to install his name on the auditorium of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in Washington D.C. with a paltry donation of roughly 1/100,000th of his net worth—less than one half of one percent of the cost of his new super-yacht, which he will force the city of Rotterdam to dismantle a historic bridge to sail out to sea—but that doesn’t matter to us now, because we have been to the mountaintop, and we have seen the promised land. We fight with the certainty that we are on the right side of history, that the arc of the moral universe bends toward justice, and that we shall overcome.

It really shouldn’t be this hard in a supposed democracy—with a government agency established explicitly for the sake of “encouraging the practice and procedure of collective bargaining”— for workers to win the right just to hold an election, so that we can have an opportunity to vote our support for our labor union. But as a pair of political scientists from Princeton and Northwestern pointed out in an instantly famous study in 2014—and defended against critics in Jeff Bezos’s newspaper two years later—the United States is an undemocratic aristocracy where “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.”

The National Labor Relations Act was founded on the recognition of the crippling inequality between workers “who do not possess full freedom of association or actual liberty of contract” and bosses who routinely deny “the right of employees to organize,” and was explicitly aimed at “restoring equality of bargaining power between employers and employees.” That obviously did not happen, and the law, which never offered such great labor protections to begin with, was repeatedly undermined by business interests in Congress (most notably through the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947), by the Supreme Court (as in Janus v. AFSCME in 2018), by presidents (most infamously when Ronald Reagan fired, blacklisted, and decertified the unionof striking air traffic controllers in 1981) and by plainly corrupt, politically-appointed leaders of the NLRB itself (like Donald Trump’s appointee, NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb, a longtime anti-union crusader who served as one of Reagan’s litigators against the air traffic controllers).

Companies like Amazon routinely violate the NLRA knowing that the deck is stacked against workers who must file charges with the NLRB and spend significant time, effort, and resources—sometimes over many years—to see cases through to resolution, only for the company to face, at worst, a slap on the wrist, if it faces any punishment at all. The law is such a poor protection for workers that even institutions with aggressively anti-union management like The New York Times regularly repeat the common refrain that “Labor Law Is Broken.” The owners of the Times would know, because they helped break it.

There are reasons for optimism, though. Joe Biden, who has repeatedly said “I intend to be the most pro-union president leading the most pro-union administration in American history,” swiftly fired Peter Robb just minutes after he was sworn in as president, as Robb had made it clear that he would not resign from the agency he had dedicated himself to sabotaging. In quick succession, the new president nominated Jennifer Abruzzo, a former NLRB deputy general counsel who had resigned in the mass staff exodus under Robb and was serving as a union lawyer for the Communication Workers of America (CWA), to replace the recalcitrant Robb as general counsel (2/17/21), then he came out publicly in support of the Bessemer union election which Amazon aggressively (and illegally) opposed and undermined (2/28/21), then the House of Representatives passed a sweeping expansion of the NLRA called the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act (3/9/21), Congress passed a stimulus bill which included $86 billion to bail out failing union pension funds (3/10/21), the Department of Labor reversed two rulesestablished under Biden’s predecessor which had limited federal protections for millions of workers (3/11/21), and the NLRB withdrew a proposed rule that would have denied college student workers legal protection to unionize (3/12/21).

After a party-line Senate confirmation in July, Jennifer Abruzzo started turning the NLRB in a whole new direction, beginning in August with a memo outlining over a dozen areas of NLRB policy she intended to reform, followed by several memos in September “seeking all available remedies to fully address unlawful conduct,” detailing a range of stronger remedies for workers that NLRB regional directors should pursue, and declaring college athletes to be employees, followed by another memo in November extending protections for immigrant workers. In January, the NLRB and Department of Labor issued a memo announcing a collaboration on investigations, especially into employer retaliation against workers and false classification of employees as independent contractors (two crimes that Amazon bosses love to commit). And just a few days ago, Abruzzo issued another memo directing staff lawyers to seek more federal court injunctions sooner to prevent employers from interfering with union organizing before they have a chance to significantly undermine union campaigns.

Meanwhile, on the ground, workers have been organizing with a level of enthusiasm, boldness, creativity, and solidarity that hasn’t been seen in the United States in decades, as #Striketober became #Strikesgiving, and then carried right on into the new year: “the year we see the beginnings of a new American labor movement.” We already see it: it has already begun. While the NLRA’s protections remain weak in the face of the enormity and audacity of corporate power, and the PRO Act has almost no chance to pass in the presently divided Senate millionaires’ club, we as worker-organizers are at least no longer swimming so furiously against the current of federal power. The (very narrow) aperture that this (hardly revolutionary) political administration has opened for workers will not be overlooked or underappreciated. We will claw and crawl and finally march our way right through it, and continue on beyond the barriers of corporate power that have confined us.

This is also what democracy looks like, for better or worse: ordinary people trapped within oppressive structures throw themselves against a wall over and over again for years, until the slightest cracks appear and the faintest rays of light shine through—and then we wedge our fingers into the cracks with all our might and fury and hope until we break the wall apart.

In the immortal words of the great American corporate pitchman, turned FBI union informant, turned union-busting politician, Ronald Reagan:

“Tear down this wall.”

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Help Support Our Organizers In Need

If you believe in the justice of the ALU cause and the importance of mutual aid, perhaps you can contribute some funds to our worker organizers who have faced hardship and retaliation by Amazon management for their fearless organizing and still continue to struggle:

GoFundMe: Gerald was Illegally Fired by Amazon

GoFundMe: Help Jason Anthony to cover monthly expenses

GoFundMe: Daequan was illegally fired and is now homeless

Any contributions at all are greatly appreciated! Thank you for your support and solidarity!

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He built a dark empire of pain and suffering, forged alliances with the most hostile forces in the land, and distributed rings to extend his power and surveillance, eliminating the possibility of free society, in his quest for immortality and planetary control—and now Jeff Bezos is excited to sell you a new Tolkien spinoff TV show on Prime about the rings forged by Sauron, a man after his own heart. Maybe the Dark Lord will be rebooted as an ambitious and successful entrepreneur, founder of Mordor, Inc., and the defiant humans will be the enemies? 

Meanwhile, trouble is brewing for Lord Bezos, as his corporate empire faces dissension on all fronts. Amazon’s stock “just had its worst week since 2018” and is trading at a “10 year low, now cheaper than Microsoft,” as Bezos lost about $25 billion just this month (LOL). In addition to the ongoing lawsuit filed by the New York Attorney General, and the ongoing COVID supervision settlement with the California Attorney General, AND the ongoing class-action lawsuit filed by ALU President Chris Smalls, Amazon faces a new lawsuit filed by the family of delivery driver Austin McEwen, one of the six workers who died in the warehouse collapse in Edwardsville, Illinois, as well as an official investigation into the collapse by the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)—as OSHA itself faces an investigation by the Department of Labor’s Inspector General, after certifying so many Amazon warehouses with horrific warehouse procedures and safety records.

Even the executives are revolting against the company, as “Amazon employee angst over low pay reaches crisis levels, driving attrition higher across senior ranks,” with over 50 Amazon vice presidents resigning in the past year. While it’s hard to have much sympathy for the wage complaints of supervisors making million-dollar salaries—while also ensuring that warehouse workers continue to make less than $20/hr in life-threatening conditions—the fact that charges of unfair pay extend from the bottom to the top of the employment ladder at Amazon shows just how deep an institutional problem Lord Bezos’s commitment to exploiting workers is. The tech baron’s avowed employment philosophy is to hire “missionaries,” workers who will zealously overwork themselves without regard for fair compensation, rather than “mercenaries,” which is what he calls employees who insist upon working for fair payment.

Workers at the bottom of the Amazon pay-scale have no intention of being “missionaries” for Amazon or its villainous owners, and we continue to rise up to demand fair pay and treatment. Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama are preparing for their second union election to begin on February 4, after the NLRB ruled that Amazon had illegally interfered the first time and ordered a new vote. And a Bessemer organizer has just filed two more charges with the NLRB against Amazon, after supervisors “tried to discipline him for talking about forming a union with coworkers,” in violation of Amazon’s recent settlement agreement with the NLRB.

We the workers of the ALU await our own hearing with the NLRB—repeatedly delayed by the Amazon bosses, as they continue firing and replacing workers at a rapid pace—to proceed with our election at JFK8, after nine months of organizing. Amazon’s firing of ALU organizer Daequan Smith was just “deemed illegal by labor board officials,” and the NLRB “says it will hit Amazon with an illegal dismissal case if it doesn’t settle.” As Amazon bosses continue to gaslight their workers and the public about the company’s employment practices and the workers’ motives for unionizing, we will continue calling out their absurd corporate lies, their serial criminal violations, and their ceaseless worker exploitation and abuse

Although nearly two thousand Amazon workers are on leave in Staten Island due to the pandemic, we also continue to set up in front of JFK8 and gather signatures from the workers every day as the election hearing deadline approaches. And we continue to build out our organizing capacity, as we launched our first organizer training this weekend and greatly expanded the ranks of our various committees. (If you work at Amazon in Staten Island and want to join one of our committees, please email info@amazonlaborunion.org to sign up.)

Committee List: Social Media, Press, Web, Newsletter, Fundraising, Finance, Women/Trans/Nonbinary, Education, Legal/People’s HR, Research, Events, Materials, Transportation, Outreach.

Last week, as Amazon offered shallow tributes to Martin Luther King Jr. in its warehouses and CEO Andy Jassy paid ridiculous lip service to the ideals of King—who was killed supporting a union campaign in Memphis—while he continues to pay millions of dollars to bust the union campaigns in Alabama and New York, workers in the ALU commemorated MLK in the spirit he would’ve actually wanted: the spirit of resistance to injustice and solidarity among the working class. 

Amazon workers delivered moving speeches about economic justice, sang the songs of the civil rights movement, like “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” and “We Shall Overcome,” and distributed flyers, posters, and picket signs declaring “I AM HUMAN”—as both a protest of Amazon’s robotic treatment of workers and a tribute to the famous signs of the Memphis campaign, which declared “I AM A MAN.” As usual, the ALU counted upon support from our allies in the New York labor movement, including members from the Workers Assembly Against Racism, the Youth Communist League, and the New York Coalition of Black Trade Unionists. And it was fitting, given King’s message in his final speech in Memphis about “disarming police forces,” that Amazon managers called the cops to come out to JFK8 and conduct surveillance on our lawful rally—a telling demonstration of the absolute cynicism of Amazon’s corporate tributes to Dr. King. 

Like the Fellowship of the Ring, who ventured into Mordor to destroy Sauron’s Ring of Power and defeat the Dark Lord, the worker-organizers of the ALU are engaged in an epic quest, with seemingly insurmountable odds, against an evil empire obsessed with expansion and total domination. And like the humble heroes of the Shire, we have been underestimated every step of the way and continue to win unexpected victories against an enemy which may have the advantage of greater resources but is blinded by its inhuman ambitions and lacks the creativity and fellowship that we depend upon to succeed.

We are not power-mad like our adversary: our struggle is simply to win fair labor conditions and a working life of dignity, to guarantee the promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all Amazon workers, rather than the threat of death, disfigurement, and mandatory extra drudgery. Like the Hobbits of the Fellowship, we just hope at the end of this long campaign to be able to sit on the field of victory and enjoy a few well-earned comforts.

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This week, we commemorate the birth of two Americans from two very different backgrounds with two very different missions in life: Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In recognition of these two American leaders, we will hold two very different kinds of rallies: a protest tomorrow, January 12, Jeff Bezos’s birthday, in front of Amazon’s New York headquarters at 7 West 34th Street, and a memorial on Monday, January 17, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, in front of JFK8, 546 Gulf Avenue, in Staten Island. All who are able to join us, workers and allies alike, should come out to rally in solidarity! (See more details below.)

Two Americans From Two Americas

The two men whose births we recognize this week could not be more radically opposed: a historic hero in the struggle for social and economic justice, who gave his life supporting a fiercely contested union campaign for poor black workers against a white supremacist power structure, and a contemporary comic book villain, paragon of white male privilege, ruling over a global empire of labor exploitation, who has amassed one of the largest personal fortunes in history in order to fund his obsession with robots, AI, and escaping planet Earth.

Jeff Bezos (who turns 58 on January 12), hopes to monopolize the entire planet’s economy through roboticized labor, then colonize space with orbiting “mixed-use business parks.” Martin Luther King, Jr. (who would be turning 93 on January 15) called for a “radical revolution of values” against such obscene anti-human materialism.

“When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, economic exploitation, and militarism are incapable of being conquered,” Dr. King said. “A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth, with righteous indignation it will look at thousands of working people displaced from their jobs, with reduced incomes as a result of automation while the profits of the employers remain intact and say, this is not just.”

Bezos, the bright white stepson of an Exxon engineer, raised in Houston and Miami and educated at Princeton, minted his early money as a banker and hedge-funder, before founding Amazon with a six-figure investment from his parents. King, born a second-class citizen to parents raised by sharecroppers and preachers, dedicated himself to the moral and material empowerment of oppressed black Americans and all poor people, calling for “a radical redistribution of political and economic power.”

“The fact is that capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves, and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor—both black and white, both here and abroad,” King observed, recognizing a moral obligation to revolutionize society and overthrow capitalist exploitation. “True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar, it understands that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring.”

Bezos, who became one the richest men in history by reinforcing the edifice that produces beggars, declared that “The only way that I can see to deploy this much financial resource is by converting my Amazon winnings into space travel. That is basically it.” King denounced this “moral lag in our thing-oriented society that blinds us to the human reality around us and encourages us in the greed and exploitation which creates the sector of poverty in the midst of wealth.”

Grandiose apostles of capitalist progress like Bezos may boast that, “Through our spaceships we were able to carve highways through the stratosphere,” Dr. King observed. Nevertheless, he said, “I can hear the God of the universe saying, ‘Even though you have done all of that, I was hungry and you fed me not, I was naked and you clothed me not. The children of my sons and daughters were in need of economic security and you didn’t provide it for them. And so you cannot enter the kingdom of greatness.’”

Dr. King opposed American imperialism and declared “eternal opposition to poverty, racism and militarism,” proclaiming that “A nation that continues year after year, to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.” Bezos has forged partnerships with the CIA, with the NSA, with ICE, and with the US military, and visited the Reagan National Defense Forum to assure the masters of war that they’re “the good guys,” and that Amazon is always “going to support the Department of Defense” without regard to the moral objections of Amazon employees.

Jeff Bezos designed Amazon to churn through workers and avoid worker unionization and has aggressively opposed worker organizing for decades through many illegal tactics, including surveillance, infiltration, harassment, threats, and retaliation—and many more schemes that aren’t illegal but should be. At this very moment, Amazon is paying thousands of dollars a day to private union busters at Staten Island, hired to deceive and scare workers—most recently identified is a consultant named Edward Echanique, who previously helped Donald Trump attempt to crush a union drive at his Las Vegas hotel in 2015. (He failed: the hotel workers voted to unionize with UNITE-HERE and secured a contract in 2016).

Martin Luther King Jr. died supporting the union campaign of striking sanitation workers in Memphis, Tennessee, members of Local 1733 of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). (They succeeded: the union won a settlement with the Memphis City Council’s negotiators twelve days after Dr. King’s murder.) Establishing Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as a national holiday emerged out of the demands of labor unions in contract negotiations.

“Let it be known everywhere that along with wages and all of the other securities that you are struggling for, you are also struggling for the right to organize and be recognized,” Dr. King reminded the striking workers in Memphis in March 1968, a month before he was murdered. “We can all get more together than we can apart; we can get more organized together than we can apart. And this is the way we gain power. Power is the ability to achieve purpose, power is the ability to affect change, and we need power…If we are going to get equality, if we are going to get adequate wages, we are going to have to struggle for it.”

In his last speech before his death, Dr. King called for solidarity among all workers. “Be concerned about your brother,” he said. “You may not be on strike. But either we go up together, or we go down together. Let us develop a kind of dangerous unselfishness…Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination.”

Now Is The Time

And so we are rising up this week to protest the “moral bankruptcy” of Jeff Bezos and the bosses at Amazon, and to celebrate the “dangerous unselfishness” of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Memphis worker-organizers he died supporting.

Tomorrow, January 12, at 5:30 PM, we will gather with our allies in the Workers’ Assembly Against Racism, the New York Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, and other labor activists in front of Amazon’s New York headquarters at 7 West 34th Street, to wish Jeff Bezos a Happy Birthday Unionize Workers Day!

On January 17, MLK Day, at 5:30 PM, we will gather in front of JFK8 in Staten Island, 546 Gulf Avenue, to honor the revolutionary legacy of one of America’s greatest civil rights leaders, who died helping oppressed workers in Memphis unionize, win a fairer labor contract, and insist upon the dignity and rights that we all deserve as workers and as human beings.

Although Amazon claims that Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a paid holiday “in general,” workers are still required to go to work in Staten Island, and so we will be out front with our coworkers to make sure this holiday is honored with more than mere corporate platitudes. We will recite from Dr. King’s speeches in support of organized labor, including his final speech in Memphis. We will sing the songs and shout the chants that galvanized the workers in the 1968 sanitation strike. We will distribute posters honoring the legacy of the ‘68 strike and asserting the dignity of all Amazon workers. We will march with our picket signs and show our strength and solidarity.

The night before MLK Day, on Sunday, January 16 at 7 PM, an online seminar on “Dr. King’s Fight for Labor and Economic Justice” will be hosted by historian Michael Honey, author of Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Sanitation Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign and To the Promised Land: Martin Luther King and the Fight for Economic Justice, and editor of a collection of King’s labor speeches, All Labor Has Dignity. This is a great opportunity to explore the philosophical roots of King’s commitment to union organizing as a key struggle for social justice. (Register for the webinar here.)

Amazon’s Peak 2021 is over, and now is the time for our worker organizing to reach its peak. The ALU has a hearing with the NLRB and Amazon at the end of this month to confirm our petition for an election, and workers in Bessemer have officially won a new union election from the NLRB, starting just days later on February 4. Now is the time for all of our efforts to come to fruition, for Amazon workers to finally win justice, and we will not stop until we do. As Dr. King told the Memphis workers before his death, “when people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory.”

“We are saying, ‘Now is the time.' Get the word across to everybody in power in this time in this town that now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to make an adequate income a reality for all of God’s children. Now is the time for city hall to take a position for that which is just and honest. Now is the time for justice to roll down like water and righteousness like a mighty stream. Now is the time.” —Martin Luther King, Jr.


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This is another big week for the Amazon Labor Union. Two ALU board members just signed a historic national labor settlement with Amazon, affecting one of the largest groups of workers in history and giving all Amazon workers more power to organize and defend our rights. We also refiled our petition for an election with the NLRB on Wednesday, and held a walkout and a protest rally at Times Square. And our protests over the sexual harassment at LDJ5 have gotten one harasser suspended, and more to come—and have inspired workers across the country to come forward with sexual harassment complaints. We are on the march.

Making History

ALU organizers, together with worker organizers in Chicago, have managed to secure from Amazon an unprecedented settlement with Amazon over their illegal treatment of workers exercising our legal rights to organize our workplace. Amazon executives have promised to stop threatening, harassing, and retaliating against organizing workers in various ways, have committed to distribute these commitments in writing to all employees in the country, and have agreed to an expedited process before the National Labor Relations Board if (more likely when) they violate the terms of the agreement in the future. Wilma B. Liebman, former NLRB chair under President Obama, called the agreement a “big deal given the magnitude of the size of Amazon.” Kent Wong, the director of the UCLA Labor Center, called it “unprecedented” and said it “opens up a new opportunities for unionization there as well as at other companies.”

@LaurenKGurley NATIONWIDE SETTLEMENT: Amazon has agreed to email past and current warehouse workers ~more than 1 million people who worked during the pandemic~ about their right to organize on Amazon property. The historic NLRB settlement was signed yesterday.

Of course, this victory doesn’t mean we are letting up one bit on holding Amazon accountable for its criminal corporate actions, and we still have many NLRB charges and court cases filed and in process. As Karen Weise observed in The New York Times, “More than 75 cases alleging unfair labor practices have been brought against Amazon since the start of the pandemic, according to the N.L.R.B.’s database”—and several of those are ours.

Amazon has been a serial criminal actor for so long because penalties for corporate violations of labor law have been minimal to non-existent, but NLRB General Counsel Jennifer Abruzzo has recently “issued several memos directing the agency’s staff to more aggressively enforce labor laws against employers.” So now is the prime time for us to insist that the NLRB stand up and defend Amazon workers who have demonstrated by the thousands that we want our union to be protected and recognized by the U.S. federal government and by Amazon—two entities which have seemed to be merging for many years. (Jay Carney, former communications director for Joe Biden and press secretary for Barack Obama, is Amazon’s vice president for global corporate affairs, and Amazon is the second biggest lobbyist in DC. We are not playing on a level field—but we do have the benefit of a righteous cause.)

Game On

After a brief, one month delay in the process, ALU has officially refiled our petition for an election with the NLRB. There’s still a whole process to go through with the NLRB and Amazon, and we all know from last time how convoluted and opaque a process the board can make the mere request for a democratic election, especially with Amazon’s lawyers playing every legal tactic they can to obstruct the will of the workers. But we are not backing down.

As we continue to fight within an unfair legal system against an unfair adversary just to win the right to hold an election to vote for the Amazon Labor Union to represent workers in Staten Island, the ALU is already proving the power and the necessity of uniting and organizing together as workers, whether or not the Amazon corporate entity recognizes us. Even before we win an election, we are winning our rights and asserting our power, step by step—and every step counts.

@Shut_downAmazon Our petition is officially filed ‼️ @amazonlabor

Winter Walkout

Coinciding with the national settlement and the NLRB refiling, and keeping the heat on Amazon’s criminal behavior even in the bitter cold of winter, ALU members walked out of work in protest on Wednesday—as did Amazonians United Chicagoland workers—and staged a rally at Times Square, with comrades in solidarity from many groups, including the Workers Assembly Against Racism, the New York Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the Workers World Party, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, Transit Workers Union Local 100, Communications Workers of America Local 1180, Columbia student workers on strike with the Student Workers of Columbia, and Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping.

ALU President Chris updated the coalition on new developments with the NLRB, and held a moment of silence for the six Amazon workers who died in Illinois, and for the young woman who died in front of JFK8, and for all the employees who died of COVID-19 and were not recognized or protected by Amazon. ALU member Jason spoke about being terminated by Amazon and rehired thanks to the union, ALU member Brett spoke about being harassed and detained with excessive force by the NYPD just for union organizing—and then the police showed up shortly after just to interrupt the event! ALU Treasurer Madeline spoke about the sexual harassment that she and others have been subjected to by coworkers at Amazon, and the refusal of Amazon HR personnel to respond, until ALU members staged two protests in front of the building that changed the tenor of the problem for Amazon. We heard some stories with big stakes involved, and with some big victories. @Shut_downAmazonTrigger Warning ⚠️ Since August a worker named Jimmy from LDJ5 have been harassing women one of our lead organizers and her co worker both reported him over 3 weeks ago and showed HR these text @amazon failed to act swiftly to suspend and investigate Jimmy.

@Shut_downAmazonIt wasn’t until this past week @amazonlabor held 2 rallies at the entrance of LDJ5 demanding they fire Jimmy immediately. We learned yesterday that he was finally out on paid suspension but that isn’t enough! This is disgusting how @amazon protected the abuser

Solidarity Forever

We can kick sexual harassers out of our workplaces, and we can win worker protections for organizers across the country, and we can get workers reinstated who have been terminated by Amazon’s inhuman algorithms—but only because we are organized and active. When we unite together and demand change, then and only then we can force Amazon to listen and do the right thing for workers. As Larry Holmes pointed out in the best line of the rally, we’re a union because we can already mobilize to change our workplace, no matter how long Amazon management seeks to delay our inevitable election:

“You don’t need the government to say ‘Oh, you’re a union.’ You’re a union already! You’re a union because you’re fighting. You’re a union because you’re fighting the sexism and abuse that women are subjected to. You’re a union because you’re organizing to fight for better conditions, to fight for the voice of the workers. You did that! Not the NLRB. Not New York. Not the United States government, not the mayor, the president, or the governor. You the workers did that.”

Amen.

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It’s a common and natural thing to confront fears about taking risks when we come together to organize as workers: what if the management illegally retaliates against us for organizing, as they did to ALU President Chris Smalls last year when he spoke out about COVID-19 safety in solidarity with his fellow coworkers? (Amazon continues to resist the NY State Attorney General’s demand that Chris be reinstated and that safety protocols be enhanced.)

Of course, the last thing that anyone in the ALU wants is for more workers to be fired—or to be fired ourselves—especially not for exercising our supposed legal rights to organize. But the fear of taking risks must also be balanced against the awareness that the risks are already there, all around us, whether we choose to act or not. In fact, most of the risks we face at Amazon can only be reduced by organizing together to make Amazon do the right thing.

Two Kinds of Termination

It is bad enough that Amazon workers are always under threat of terminationby an Evil AI management system that treats workers like robots, makes working less safe, and that is built to churn through workers at a predictable rate of 3% per week, 150% per year—with managers even hiring workers just to fire them in order to make their rate. And as we know all too well, Amazon has a history of illegal retaliation and harassment of workers who protest and organize, both here in New York and across the country—despite Amazon’s “Leadership Principle” encouraging workers to “Disagree and Commit.”

But Amazon’s Evil AI will not just terminate your employment without a second thought—without even a first thought, actuallyit may even terminate your life. One of the reasons why we must take risks as workers and organizers (regardless of the supposed protections of the law), is that we already face even greater risks to our lives, our health, and our bodily safety on a daily basis at Amazon, and we must confront these problems if they are ever going to change. Jeff Bezos will not swoop in from space to save us: his vow to make Amazon “Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work” is a cruel joke when Amazon is in fact one of the most dangerous places to work— almost twice as dangerous as the rest of the industry. It is just what an evil alien robot would promise before enslaving the human race.

If Amazon Workers Are Pandemic Heroes, Then Jeff Bezos Is a Supervillain

Right around the time that Amazon management fired Chris last year for organizing over COVID-19 safety protocols at Amazon, another worker at DDC3 in Virginia was also making internal complaints about the lack of proper safety protocols. Rather than hiring a team of medical professionals, Amazon management conscripted Poushawn Brown to conduct COVID-19 testing, and they neglected to provide her with a proper N-95 mask, surgical gloves, gowns, goggles, or other personal protective equipment. The site’s cleaning crew had quit early on during the pandemic, and the replacement cleaners focused on the floors and walls, not the carts and trays that workers handled regularly. She wanted management to close the facility and have it professionally cleaned and sanitized, but the HR department dismissed her request. The site manager said to her: “we still have to do the numbers,” insisting that “we will not lose money.”

On April 10, 2020, Brown wrote an anonymous email to Amazon corporate headquarters, objecting that “Amazon leadership is not concerned with their employees” and “is allowing its employees to come to work and be exposed to COVID-19 and taking it home to their families.” She noted that there wasn’t a screening process for the delivery drivers, warehouse cleaners weren’t wearing masks or social distancing, and they were only cleaning non-work areas, and not “the carts, racks, and bags that the drivers and employees touch constantly.” Four employees had tested positive over several days, but coworkers were only notified after the fourth employee tested positive. “Employees and managers are scared for their lives and do not want to come to work until the site is cleaned,” she wrote. “Amazon does not offer insurance for 80% of the employees that work at the warehouse so if someone were to get sick, how will they receive medical treatment let alone pay for their, or their families, healthcare while contracting the virus.”

On January 14, 2021, Poushawn Brown came home from her COVID-19 testing job at Amazon feeling unwell. She died in bed the next day. The only assistance Amazon offered her family was two months of counseling for her 12-year-old daughter Gabrielle, and they instead depended on the generosity of over a thousand people who gave to their GoFundMe page. Poushawn did not have to die so that Amazon could “do the numbers.”

Since then, the slowly grinding gears of the law have begun to catch up to Amazon’s move-fast-and-break-people management approach. The National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Amazon illegally retaliated against Chicago workers who organized a COVID-19 safety strike, that Amazon illegally interrogated and threatened the lead organizer of a COVID-19 safety walkout in Queens, and that Amazon illegally fired ALU organizer Gerald Bryson in retaliation for protesting COVID-19 safety conditions.

New York Attorney General Letitia James has sued Amazon for “its failures to provide adequate health and safety measures for employees at the company’s New York facilities and Amazon’s retaliatory actions against multiple employees amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.” Rather than comply with concerns for worker safety, however, Amazon management decided to sue the Attorney General. Recently, AG James filed a motion for an injunction to compel Amazon to reinstate Chris, and to immediately improve COVID-19 safety protocols, pending the outcome of the state’s ongoing litigation.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta also sued Amazon for hiding COVID-19 cases from workers, and secured a settlement with Amazon that required the company to provide prompt and precise information about COVID-19 cases to all workers and local health agencies, to submit to state monitoring, and to pay a fine of $500,000.

Ultimately, $500k is a paltry penalty for recklessly endangering thousands of workers’ lives—just the price of doing business for Amazon (slightly more than one minute of revenue for the company) and chump change for billionaire Jeff Bezos. Obviously, we can’t rely on lawyers and politicians to protect us, because not even they can stop Amazon from flagrantly putting workers’ bodies and lives at risk every day. Only workers united and organized to demand better conditions can apply the leverage.

When Disaster Strikes

Given Amazon’s consistent disregard for worker safety, it is a tragedy but not a surprise that Amazon workers were killed on the job on Friday, by a tornado that tore through a warehouse in Edwardsville, Illinois, because they were forced to stay at work despite urgent weather safety warnings. “Amazon won’t let us leave,” one worker texted his girlfriend before he died.

More Perfect Union @MorePerfectUSHorrifying details are emerging about the tornado disaster at Amazon's warehouse in Illinois, where at least 6 workers were killed on the job. Before he died, Larry Virden reportedly texted his girlfriend: "Amazon won’t let us leave." He leaves behind four children.

Not only did Amazon management neglect to “notify employees about the tornado even as it happened,” but then they went back and encrypted “internal help ticket messages about the Illinois facility, making them inaccessible to most workers,” in order to cover up their negligent disregard for worker concerns about the natural disaster. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has opened an investigation into the warehouse collapse, especially since the Edwardsville workers say they never received any emergency training—not even so much as a fire drill. Meanwhile, Amazon is funding lobbying groups that are fighting legislation which would protect workers from management retaliation if they flee an unsafe workplace, as the workers in Edwardsville should have been encouraged to do.

Amazon workers in New York might find all of this too familiar, after being forced to go to work during Tropical Depression Ida—despite the region’s first-ever flash flood emergency warning from the National Weather Service and NYC alerts bombarding phones with scary messages: “do not attempt to travel unless you are fleeing an area subject to flooding or under an evacuation order.” As a Gizmodo article noted at the time, it’s all part of a pattern:

“This isn’t the first time Amazon workers have been on the job during extreme weather that’s being worsened by the climate crisis. In June, a viral TikTok showed an Amazon driver braving flooded roads in Detroit to make a delivery. That same month, during record heat in the Pacific Northwest, Amazon warehouse staff in Washington were reportedly forced to work in 90-degree heat indoors. (That same heat wave was deemed a “mass casualty event” by Oregon county officials as dozens perished.)”

Brian Kahn @blkahnThis is the third time in six months Amazon workers have been working in the path of deadly weather. Warehouse workers also had to go in during record-smashing heat in the PNW and the deadly Ida floods in NYC. Just like those disaster, last night’s tornadoes were well forecast

Dave Clark @davehclarkWe’re deeply saddened by the news that members of our Amazon family passed away as a result of the storm in Edwardsville, Illinois. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their loved ones, and everyone who has been impacted by the storm’s path across the U.S.

The morning after the tornado killed Amazon workers in Illinois, Bezos was in Texas taking a giddy selfie with his wannabe space cadets. “Happy crew this morning in the training center,” he wrote, having still said nothing publicly about the catastrophe at his Amazon warehouse the night before. It wasn’t until 9pm on Saturday night that the Bezos PR team finally kicked in, and his avatar fired off some perfunctory “thoughts and prayers” on Twitter, presumably while Bezos was pleasantly entertained at the lavish party at his Beverly Hills mansion that night.

@JeffBezosThe news from Edwardsville is tragic. We’re heartbroken over the loss of our teammates there, and our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones. (1/2)

The Disaster is Amazon

There is not just one fix that will make Amazon a safe place to work, instead of one of the most dangerous employers, notorious for its “epidemic of workplace injuries.” It will require a total paradigm shift in the way that workers are considered by management—not as input/output flow rate number generators, parcel processors, fleshy appendages to algorithms and automation—and that will require that the human workers take more control over the conditions of our own work.

Even The Washington Post, which is owned by Jeff Bezos, could not avoid the conclusion from studying the OSHA data that “Amazon’s serious injury rates are nearly double those at warehouses run by other companies.” And while Amazon workers and former OSHA senior staff say that the high rate of injuries is no random accident but precisely a reflection that “the targets the company sets are too aggressive,” Bezos still refuses to accept this. “We don’t set unreasonable performance goals,” he told Amazon shareholders, and his Amazon Leadership Principles even celebrate “relentlessly high standards” that “many people may think…are unreasonably high.” There may be a “customer obsession,” but there is no worker regard at all.

Whether the grueling demands result in workers being forced to go to work in unsafe weather conditions or cross unsafe roads, or to rush to lift and move heavy objects at high rates, in repetitive and stressful movements that damage their bodies, or to work long hours without any breaks, or to pee in bottles while driving (which Amazon management lied about and then was forced to admit), or to work in heat so punishing they pass out from heat stroke, it is the same relentless and robotic focus on input and output, on “making rate,” that is destroying human beings.

@Shut_downAmazonTonight @amazonlabor held a vigil for the 24yr old women who lost her life the other night was sad yet beautiful and powerful for us workers. Amazon needs to be held accountable this death could of been avoided the fight will go on! We won’t rest until we get our union! RIP 🙏🏽

We Are Not Robots

The origin of the word robot is the word slave. And it is clear that Jeff Bezos would prefer robots, or slaves, to the free human beings with human needs and human demands whom he is still compelled to employ to do the work that “paid for all of this” space tourism that occupies his infinite boredom. The systems of Amazon are designed for the robots that will eventually replace us as workers, and in the meantime we are forced to work like robots do.

Jeff Bezos has strapped computers to our arms and scanners to our fingertips, directing us by algorithm through managers attached to laptops on carts. He has literally patented a system that would force workers into cages on top of robots, and his grand idea to increase worker safety was a new algorithm that “will set workers’ schedules according to muscle use.”

“An extraordinary illustration of worker alienation, a stark moment in the relationship between humans and machines.”

Reclaiming Our Time

To add insult to injury, not only does Amazon’s inhuman management system overwork us, and under-protect us, leaving our bodies sick and damaged, but when we need to take time to recover, Amazon is illegally stealing our paid sick time!

According to New York State law, an employer with more than 100 employees must grant all employees 56 hours of paid sick leave per year, regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time workers. Amazon HR has made it clear in writing that they consider paid personal time off (PTO) to be equivalent to sick time, even though they only provide 24 hours of annual PTO to part-time workers, and 48 hours to full-time workers. This means they are taking as much as 32 hours of pay from workers each year—possibly more than $600—and potentially forcing workers to use their unpaid time (UPT) when they should be entitled to paid sick leave. This may also unnecessarily force workers into danger of being terminated for running out of UPT. It’s a trap!

We encourage all workers to see your Amazon HR representatives, open up an HR case in A to Z, and call the Amazon ERC (888-892-7180), to demand that they tell you exactly how much paid sick time you have available, and at what rate you accrue it. Tell them that you know the NY state law (they probably don’t): that you are entitled to 56 paid hours, not 48 or 24, and that if Amazon fails to inform you within three days of exactly how much sick time you have available, that is a violation of the law. Document all interactions, start to finish. We can gather these together as evidence of a deliberate policy. When enough of us make it clear to Amazon that we’ve caught on to their wage theft, we can make them stop stealing from us and give us what is rightfully ours.

ALU News

Business Insider: Amazon unionizers at a Staten Island warehouse said a visit by the NYPD quickly turned sour. One was handcuffed and held in a cell, they said, and both received court summonses.

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It’s a sign of the times that “America’s Pastime” has just been forced into a labor lockout by the billionaire owners of Major League Baseball for the first time in over a quarter century—not because it was unavoidable, as the MLB commissioner admitted, but rather as an aggressive strategy of adversarial gamesmanship, to apply “pressure…to get an agreement” from the MLB players’ union in collective bargaining. The power play quickly led to such petty consequences as MLB websites which “scrubbed all images of and stories about the players, creating an almost comical accumulation of generic articles and promotional advertisements.” Major League Baseball now officially has no baseball players—because the wealthy owners want more money and power.

The Amazon Labor Union is no stranger to such petty hardball from greedy bosses. For instance, in the past few months, we have grown our union organization through generosity, solidarity, and honest communication, while Amazon management at Staten Island has:

  • erected a fence to impede our organizing, then topped it with barbed wire;
  • broadcast lies and misinformation about the union on the A to Z app and in break areas and bathroom “inSTALLments” throughout the Matrix complex;
  • recruited expensive union-busting consultants and Amazon HR officers from all over the country to sow fear and confusion among workers in captive audience meetings;
  • fired workers in retaliation for organizing with the ALU;
  • repeatedly called the NYPD on us and lied to them, leading to the bogus arrest and citation of two of our organizers (case dismissed!);
  • sent the FDNY to shut down the portable firepit we used to keep workers warm at night;
  • pressured the MTA to change the code to the restroom beside our tent to deny us access;
  • and now, managed to reroute the MTA buses away from the bus stop where we set up.

They can keep throwing spitballs at us, and we’ll just keep batting them away. The degree of abject pettiness from Amazon management only shows to us their true level of desperation, if not absolute terror, at the prospect of Amazon workers actually having a chance to vote for union representation in a free and fair election—something that the Atlanta regional National Labor Relations Board recently ruled that Amazon management illegal impeded in Bessemer, AL, calling for a new election to be held. Despite the intimidation tactics of Amazon bosses, we are not afraid of them—but they are clearly afraid of us.

NY Attorney General Goes to Bat for the ALU Against Amazon Bosses

On Tuesday, November 30, New York State Attorney General Letitia James filed a petition for a preliminary injunction to force Amazon to immediately address the health and safety issues threatening warehouse workers, and to reinstate ALU President Chris Smalls to his position as process assistant at Amazon, after he was fired last year in retaliation for protesting inadequate COVID-19 safety protocols.

Attorney General James has found that “Amazon unlawfully retaliated against Smalls under Labor Law § 215 and § 740” by firing him after “Smalls complained of health and safety conditions which he correctly believed to be illegal.” The NY State AG’s office is asking the court to temporarily reverse Chris’s termination and reinstate him pending the outcome of the state’s ongoing litigation against Amazon for numerous violations of law.

NY AG James @NewYorkStateAGI'm filing a motion to force @amazon to immediately implement #COVID19 safety measures at its Staten Island facility after failing to protect its workers and to reinstate Chris Smalls, who was fired for speaking about these issues. Amazon must stop putting profits over people. https://t.co/9VrGl7fWln

Meanwhile, the ALU continues to pursue legal challenges of our own against Amazon’s criminality, with the tireless help of our union lawyer Seth Goldstein, through unfair labor practice charges with the NLRB and class action lawsuits. Amazon will not be getting away with any illegal actions against workers in Staten Island without hearing about it from us in court. The ALU knows how to play hardball, too.

Coalition to Defend Amazon Workers @CDAW_NationalToday, @amazonlabor filed Unfair Labor Practice charges against @amazon @NLRB @NLRBGC. Amazon maintains an unlawful policy blocking union organizers’ access, during non-work hours, to public areas in buildings on its Staten Island Campus. Amazon 🛑 your war against workers! ⚖️ 👇🏽

Black Friday March: Enough is Enough

Last Friday, November 26, ALU worker organizers marched with Starbucks worker organizers and allies from Workers Assembly Against Racism and other activist groups to protest at the Manhattan residences of Jeff Bezos and Howard Schultz. ALU President Chris Smalls addressed the crowd in front of Bezos’s $119 million “mansion in the sky” at 212 Fifth Avenue to explain where we are in the ALU drive to win our union election. “It’s up to us. It’s not up to the billionaires.” Chris told the crowd. “It’s up to the workers to come together. If we don’t do that…they’re going to continue to exploit workers, they’re going to continue to hire and fire workers as they please, and the system is going to continue to operate the way it’s been operating for decades. I think we are saying in this country right now, ‘Enough is enough.’”

The protest was coordinated as part of a global movement against Amazon’s abuses, organized under the banner Make Amazon Pay. As Alex Press reported in Jacobin, “The actions traverse Amazon’s supply chain, ranging from garment workers in Bangladesh and Cambodia to delivery drivers in Italy to the River Club development site in Cape Town, South Africa, where Amazon hopes to build Africa Amazon’s headquarters.” In the United Kingdom, activists with Extinction Rebellion blockaded roadways and shut down several Amazon warehouses. In Germany, the Verdi union announced that several thousand Amazon workers refrained from working on Black Friday, and in Italy, the Assoespressi union which represents 12,000, drivers leveraged the threat of a strike to win an agreement with Amazon. When workers unite and show our strength, we win.

Join the Team and Make History

If you want to join us in this beautiful struggle, you can contact us by email, DM us on social media, or talk to us in person at the warehouses in Staten Island. As ALU organizer Natalie Monarrez said in a Status Coup video which was recently shared by Susan Sarandon, “being involved with the Amazon Labor Union gives me the motivation and the purpose I need”—even as Amazon’s below-industry-standard wages make it hard for her to even find an affordable apartment to live in.

Susan Sarandon @SusanSarandon Please watch

Status Coup News @StatusCoupNatalie Monarrez is one of many New York @amazon worker who is homeless and sleeps in her car. Despite her situation, the current union drive at her Staten Island warehouse gives her motivation and purpose, she told @JordanChariton https://t.co/x4owTA8Inh

If you can, please help our ALU organizers who work and organize without a home of their own to return to after giving their all to Amazon and to their fellow coworkers every night:

GoFundMe: Help Natalie Monarrez

GoFundMe: Help Daequan Smith

We’re only in Game One of this series against the Seattle Amazonians—extending into extra innings as we seek to refile our petition for election soon—and it will take our A-game from every player on the team, and the roar of support from every ALU fan cheering us on, to knock this out of the park and bring all of our coworkers home.

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The past is never dead. It's not even past.

Thanksgiving is a conflicted holiday. The 1621 gathering that is supposed to be honored on Thanksgiving Day was the result of a desperate mutual defense pact during a deadly epidemic—soon violated brutally by the New England colonizers, amid centuries of deceit, imperialist violence, and organized resistance that persists to the present day. Today, the driving force of Thanksgiving, like all US holidays, is consumerism: tradition as a sales event.

46 million turkeys are consumed in the United States on Thanksgiving Day, at a cost of nearly one billion dollars. Another $39 billion dollars are projected to be spent on “e-commerce” platforms like Amazon in the 5-day holiday weekend from Thanksgiving Day to “Cyber Monday.”


We must be of two minds about this holiday’s cultural legacy. On the one hand, the Thanksgiving celebration offers us an opportunity to gather together and share with each other in a spirit of solidarity and mutual aid—potluck, picnic, potlatch—which is rare in a society of such aggressive individualism. It is a deep tradition with indigenous roots, established as a national US holiday through the tireless efforts of an abolitionist feminist during the American Civil War, explicitly to promote unity and oppose war.

On the other hand, the tradition (superficially) honors a moment of intercultural solidarity and indigenous wisdom through a mythologizing mode of “imperialist nostalgia.” By officially encouraging Americans to exalt the legendary WASP’s good immigrant origin story—just as the white power structure began to impose racist national legal codes of immigrant exclusion—the national holiday’s mythology whitewashed the “Pilgrim” legacy of greed, duplicity, slavery, exploitation, genocide, and environmental devastation which forms the foundation of the nation’s true origin story—and its perpetual mode of operation.

Six days before the “Emancipation Proclamation” officially went into effect—on the day after Christmas in 1862—US federal agents hanged 38 Dakota men upon Abraham Lincoln’s direct orders, for organized resistance to the US government’s expulsion and forced starvation of the Dakota people. Ten months later, Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday. That Christmas Eve, he became the first president to unofficially pardon a turkey, at his son’s insistence. Presidents to this day celebrate an absurd tradition of publicly pardoning turkeys while leaving human beings locked in cages awaiting death.


The Spirit of Thanksgiving

We find ourselves nearing the end of 2021—in Amazon’s PEAK—still plagued by a deadly epidemic, still confronting the endless deceit and greed of the white power structure (whose grasping frontier fantasies now extend to “the final frontier” of space colonialism), and as always, still organizing in mutual defense and resistance against it, in a spirit of solidarity.

It’s in the spirit of solidarity and resistance that the ALU fam celebrated Thanksgiving on Thursday in Staten Island, sharing food and good vibes among fellow workers outside the warehouses. And it’s in this spirit that we’ll continue to organize and fight for each other.

Amazon Labor Union @amazonlaborHappy Thanksgiving to workers everywhere! Here’s to the day Amazon workers get to spend this holiday with their families instead of being trapped in a warehouse 👎👎

Christian Smalls @Shut_downAmazonOur menu for today we also gave out fruits and vegetables @amazonlabor

Christian Smalls @Shut_downAmazonToday @amazonlabor feed workers who had to come to work on Thanksgiving because their employer didn’t give them the day off to be with family with pay.

Jason The Transit Guru @JasonBXNY0619Happy Thanksgiving with @amazonlabor @Shut_downAmazon @DerrickPalmer_ @peace4every0ne https://t.co/hRm1ce3JKp

The Spirit of Resistance

We’re keeping that spirit going full speed ahead on the day after Thanksgiving Day with our Black Friday rally in front of Jeff Bezos’s Manhattan penthouse at 212 Fifth Avenue, starting at 6pm (new start time!). We are coordinating with the Workers’ Assembly Against Racism in New York and dozens of organizations and Amazon worker groups around the world on one of the biggest retail days of the year to show our collective power and Make Amazon Pay. Amazon workers are striking in France, activists have blocked the entrances to Amazon warehouses in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and Germany, and workers in over twenty countries will be rising up in resistance and protest against the corporation.

Christian Smalls @Shut_downAmazonA L L B L A C K Solidarity Rally with Amazon workers @amazonlabor see you there!

Workers’ Assembly Against Racism (WAAR) @waar_nyc#UnionYes @protest_nyc @Shut_downAmazon @GrimKim

Workers’ Assembly Against Racism (WAAR) @waar_nyc#BlackFridayNYC #MakeAmazonPay 6 PM 212 Fifth Ave at Bezos’ apt ⁦@Shut_downAmazon⁩ ⁦@SW_Columbia⁩

UNI Apro @uniaproIt is "Black Friday" a #MakeAmazonPay day!

And while we are protesting out in the streets, the ALU crew is also organizing resistance to Amazon’s illegal firing practices, preparing NLRB charges, class action lawsuits, and new HR response strategies to resist Amazon’s relentless churn through its workforce. We’re forming a People’s HR Committee to respond to management’s abusive practices and to receive worker complaints about employment issues, and we need people to step up and lead. If you may be interested in joining this important new team, please let us know.

For instance, Amazon is blatantly violating New York State law by not providing its workers the required 56 hours of paid sick leave time each year, and we are also receiving complaints from workers about this abusive pretext for firing employees and denying compensation. (Ask Amazon to inform you in writing how much paid sick leave you have accrued! “Upon the request of an employee, employers are required provide, within three business days, a summary of the amounts of sick leave accrued and used by the employee in the current calendar year and/or any previous calendar year.”)

If you or someone you know has been fired from Amazon for UPT or are at risk, please gather any documentation you can and let us know the details of your situation! We must organize to stop these Amazon management abuses, and we will.

The Spirit of Sharing

The ALU is also organizing mutual aid on behalf of workers who have been affected by Amazon’s unfair, illegal, and cruel firing practices, as well as workers who have been struggling to make ends meet on Amazon wages, especially in this difficult season. If you have any funds to spare, consider helping out with these GoFundMe campaigns of fellow workers, all of whom have given generously of their time to help lead the ALU organizing cause, so all of us can have a voice and win better wages, working conditions, and dignity in the workplace:

GoFundMe: Help Daequan Smith

Daequan was illegally fired from Amazon because he was outspoken about his support for the union. The Amazon Labor Union has filed an unfair labor practice charge against Amazon and is demanding that he is reinstated into his position with full back pay. While we wait for the NLRB to take action on his case, Daequan needs financial support to pay his bills. He is currently homeless because of Amazon’s retaliation.

GoFundMe: Help Jason Anthony

Jason was fired in July 2020 due to negative UPT, and he lost unemployment benefits as of September 6, 2021. He recently returned to work at Amazon a couple of weeks ago, but is still facing an uphill battle and urgently needs help to pay bills.

GoFundMe: Help Natalie Monarrez

Natalie has no family in New York and has struggled to secure housing, despite working at Amazon full-time for the past three years, as detailed in a VICE profile, “A Homeless Amazon Warehouse Worker in New York City Tells Her Story.” She has been living out of her SUV in the facility’s parking lot, and needs help to rent a place to move into.

The Spirit of Honoring Those Lost

Last Saturday night, while the ALU tent was down for repair and recuperation, a 24-year old Amazon worker was struck and killed by a car driven by another 19-year old Amazon worker. The tragedy occurred right in front of where the ALU normally sets up by the MTA bus stop, but overnight workers were not notified by management that their coworker had been killed. ALU organizers held a vigil on Monday in honor of the victim, and we are working to force Amazon and Matrix Development Group to protect workers by making necessary upgrades to the unsafe road. If you see dangerous activity on the 5th Street corridor, document it and share it with us, so we can build the case to force Amazon to protect us from life-threatening traffic.

Christian Smalls @Shut_downAmazonTonight @amazonlabor held a vigil for the 24yr old women who lost her life the other night was sad yet beautiful and powerful for us workers. Amazon needs to be held accountable this death could of been avoided the fight will go on! We won’t rest until we get our union! RIP 🙏🏽

Jason The Transit Guru @JasonBXNY0619Vigil with @Shut_downAmazon @amazonlabor @IssaSmallsWorld @jnmedina8989 @peace4every0ne @DerrickPalmer_ https://t.co/Rij9qMnnzE

Amazon will not protect us unless we organize to protect ourselves and demand what we deserve as human beings. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. The ALU is organized around that fundamental truth.

More Perfect Union @MorePerfectUSNEW: Poushawn Brown was assigned to Amazon’s COVID-19 testing team, despite having no medical background. Three months later she got sick and died. Amazon has refused to provide or discuss any financial compensation with her family.

ALU News

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“Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims have been born of earnest struggle.

The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress.

Those who profess to favor freedom and yet deprecate agitation are men who want crops without plowing up the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters.

This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.

Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages and make no resistance, either moral or physical.

Men may not get all they pay for in this world, but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others.”

–Frederick Douglass, 1857

Winter is Coming

As the leaves fall, the temperature drops, and the clock jumps back an hour, we have entered the autumn of open struggle with the Amazon bosses, where both advances and setbacks can be expected as par for the course. In the face of Amazon management’s constant lies, petty harassment, and intimidation, we will not be deterred, and we will not be discouraged.

Winter is coming, and the whitewalkers are already among us: not only union busters but also HR representatives from all over the country are holed up at the Hilton Garden Inn down the street from Amazon’s Staten Island warehouses for at least the next two months (as one of them recently admitted in a captive audience meeting)—with all expenses paid by Amazon as they subtly mislead, intimidate, and outright lie to workers in order to stop our worker union campaign. They are settling in for a long, bitter winter campaign, but we’re ready for it too.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

You may have seen the news last week: “Nascent Amazon union withdraws petition in bid to unionize Staten Island workers,” as the Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post reported. Amazon management made sure to send a message on A to Z to all of us about this as well. This report is technically true, but not at all what it sounds like, and it is no reason for dismay.

Christian Smalls @Shut_downAmazonUpdate today we temporarily withdrew our petition for an election @amazonlabor has met all the requirements along with submitting over 2K signed cards. We’re facing a turnover rate of 150% so the card check didn’t go in favor this time do not get discouraged we will resubmit ASAP

The details: On Friday, November 12, 2021, the National Labor Relations Board informed the Amazon Labor Union that many of the signatures submitted in our petition for an election were no longer valid. Amazon’s 150% annual turnover rate—a consequence of the abysmal working conditions which we as organized workers seek to improve—means that many of the workers who have signed the petition since we started the drive in April are no longer employed at the Amazon warehouses in Staten Island. As a result of Amazon’s aggressive delaying tactics and resistance to formally recognizing an independent union of Amazon workers, the ALU had to temporarily withdraw the petition we filed on October 25th, 2021.

But have no fear! Our fight isn’t over, nor has it been put on hold. It hasn’t even slowed down: if anything, it’s speeding up! We’re still in the warehouses organizing. We’re still supporting and protecting workers from the unfair labor practices of Amazon bosses. And we’re still at the tent, collecting signatures so we can refile our petition soon. All that Amazon has accomplished is slightly delay the inevitable. We’ve already collected hundreds more signatures from workers since the NLRB gave us the news about those invalid signatures of former workers. And we are stronger than ever, and getting stronger every day.

Time to Level Up

That being said, the strength of the ALU depends on every one of our members, so we are calling on everyone in the union to step up—lead organizers included—and take our commitment to the next level by helping spread the word to all workers about what the union is, why it’s important, and why we all need to sign cards and encourage our coworkers to sign cards and get involved. You can stop by the ALU tent to pick up physical cards for others to sign, as well as smaller cards with a QR code that people can scan to sign up electronically. The electronic authorization form can be found at: amazonlaborunion.org/sign

We also need all of your help to counteract the active misinformation campaign that Amazon is running under the guise of “worker education about unions.” Check out the articles in the press section this week for examples of how Staten Island workers are responding to the union busting lies in these meetings. The whole country is taking notice. Speak up and respond to their misinformation with facts and informed questions:

  • When the union busters say “The ALU is not part of Amazon,” or “The ALU is a third party,” challenge them on what they mean, since the ALU is made by and for Amazon workers like us.
  • When they say they value “direct communication,” ask them if bringing in HR managers from across the country to say false things to New York workers about their own union is their model for “direct communication.” Ask them if they’ve ever visited the ALU tent and talked directly to any worker organizers there. (No, they haven’t.)
  • When they say “The ALU will make you pay union dues,” remind workers that dues will be decided by all of us together, AFTER we negotiate a new contract for higher wages. And there will be no “fines, fees, assessments”: this is just a lie. Ask the union busters why Amazon is unwilling to pay their Tier 1 associates a living wage without having to work overtime, if they are so concerned about their workers’ paychecks. Ask them why Amazon has systematically underpaid its workers even the wages they are supposed to be earning, for many years.
  • When they say “The ALU is inexperienced and won’t be able to change anything,” ask them why their company is spending thousands of dollars per day to prevent the ALU from making change.

We will need to do more than just collect signatures and refile our petition for election to win this union campaign against one of the most aggressively anti-union companies in the country! So we are also focusing on increasing our organizing capacity: we need to get bigger, better, bolder, stronger, more creative, more strategic, and more energetic in everything we do. We need more people engaging in more activities with more fresh ideas to see this campaign through to success and beyond. To that end, we are creating new ALU committees to focus strategically on the many different areas of activity that we have already been engaged in up until now in more informal ways. And we invite all of you to join any of the groups that sound interesting to you, or suggest new ones we haven’t thought of yet.

Here is a list of the new committees, in addition to the newsletter committee that brings this newsletter to you each week:

  • Workers Committee - People training to be and acting as de facto shop stewards. Primarily responsible for organizing workers, educating them on the union, bringing them into union activism. Organize shifts to help bring other people into union activism such as getting signatures, getting petitions signed.
  • Education Committee: Organize workshops, study groups, the ALU library, develop study materials on past and contemporary labor history—as it relates to Amazon and elsewhere—and other topics beneficial for Amazon workers to learn about.
  • Research Committee: Investigate and report back on any questions and topics the union needs specific research on.
  • Events Committee: Organize events: rallies, protests, fundraisers, movie nights, picnics, bar nights, whatever! This will help us build solidarity and community.
  • Materials Committee: Responsible for the production of flyers, cards, posters, shirts, stickers, buttons, and any other swag or materials required.
  • Social Media Committee: Manage content on social media channels and activate others to post and share.
  • Website Committee: Maintain and update the website, and respond to emails received through info@amazonlaborunion.org.
  • Press Committee: Track and record all ALU press coverage and interviews, maintain contact list of reporters, produce press releases, craft, advance, and amplify specific narratives to the press.
  • Compliance/People's HR Committee: Respond to worker reports of management abuse, defend workers rights (Weingarten and otherwise), pursue NLRB violations.

To join one of these committees, first talk with any ALU organizer to sign up for the broader ALU Organizing Committee, and download the encrypted Telegram chat app. This is the primary digital tool we use to keep in touch and share news, thoughts, digital resources, and so on. From there, we can get you involved in any of the committees that interest you.

Can’t Stop Us Now

The NLRB decision on the signatures is one of a few challenges we’ve faced recently, and we want you to know that none of them will bring us down. In addition to the union busters, the anti-union propaganda, and the captive audience meetings, Amazon management has been calling the police on us more often, and putting more pressure on them to intimidate us (spoiler alert: it’s not working). Especially, as the weather gets colder, Amazon’s newest petty tactic is to try to take away our heat: the firepit that so many workers have enjoyed after a long shift while waiting for the MTA buses to arrive.

After months of barbecues and overnight campouts roasting marshmallows around the firepit in front of Amazon, the management sent the NYPD out to the ALU tent yet again on Monday, and this time the cops arrested ALU organizer Brett Daniels, even though Brett and Chris complied with their request regarding our firepit. This was just a petty power play, but it will backfire. We got their names and badges. These cops are getting massive charges.

brett daniels ☭ #UnionizeAmazon @peace4every0neJUST GOT RELEASED FROM NYPD PRECINCT 121 WHERE THE 🐷s WOULDN’T TELL ME WHY I WAS BEING ARRESTED, HURT MY WRISTS WHILE BEING ARRESTED & DIDN’T READ ME MY MIRANDA RIGHTS! POWER DOESN’T WANNA SEE US SUCCEED! THEY’RE SCARED OF @amazonlabor! @Shut_downAmazon #UnionBustingIsDisgusting

A couple of days later, they sent the FDNY to put out our fire. But we’ve got a generator, we’ve got portable heaters, and we will be upgrading our structures to withstand the winter. We got a bigger, better tent to set up on the other side of the MTA bathroom, in front of the orange ALU letters tied into the fence—but sadly the storm winds destroyed it less than 24 hours after we put it up. No matter: we still have the original tent, and we’ll be erecting something stronger soon enough. Stay tuned for more news on that front. We’re unstoppable.

Christian Smalls @Shut_downAmazonWe’re NOT going anywhere! #OccupyAmazon has officially begun this fight is far from over join us! @amazonlabor #UnionStrong #ALU

tiktok.com/@amazonlaborunion/video/7031915898911083823

Black Friday Action

All around the world, Amazon workers and allies in at least 20 countries will be taking action to protest against Amazon next week on Black Friday, November 26, in a coalition of dozens of organizations called Make Amazon Pay. In France, warehouse workers across the country are planning work stoppages, and in Italy, where unionized Amazon workers have repeatedly gone on strike and recently won greater worker decision-making authority over operations, Amazon delivery drivers plan to go on strike once again.

In New York, in coordination with our allies in the Workers Assembly Against Racism, we will be gathering at 212 Fifth Avenue in midtown Manhattan at 3 p.m. for a protest in front of Jeff Bezos’s luxury penthouse. We encourage everyone to come out and join us for a show of strength and protest against Amazon’s anti-worker practices, in solidarity with Amazon workers across the globe. Let’s make Amazon pay.

ALU News

Other Union News

As you know from the emergency email we sent out earlier this week, the National Labor Relations Board told us we needed to submit 150 more signatures by Wednesday at noon in order to proceed with our petition for an election. Well, great news! We got even more extra signatures than we needed! Thanks to your hard work, talking to coworkers, staying out overnight, giving generously of your time, energy, and other resources, we gathered almost 200 signatures on Monday alone!

As workers who have already signed up continue to spread the word about the benefits of the union, confront the brutal working conditions of Amazon, and see the union comrades taking care of one another in a way Amazon bosses never will, more and more associates are excited to join the ALU.

Amazon bosses got the NLRB hearing pushed back a week to November 22nd, as a delay tactic. But the hearing will happen! Leading up to it and well after, we will continue to spread the word about the union and ask more workers to sign cards physically or virtually. Please stop by the ALU tent to pick up some cards to have your co-workers sign!

Solidarity From Philadelphia

Last weekend, the Philly Workers Solidarity Network marched in solidarity with Amazon workers and the ALU at the Peoplehood Parade in Philadelphia. At their invitation, ALU members made the trip to Philly and took to the streets! ALU has support from all over the country, and all over the world. People everywhere are on our side, watching and encouraging us, inspired, because they know that if we can organize a union here, we can organize workers everywhere. They know that if we can take on Amazon, one of the richest companies in the world, and Jeff Bezos, the second wealthiest man in the world, then we the workers can come together to organize a better world for struggling and oppressed people everywhere.

Stories From the Workers

Every week, we want to include stories from workers. We want worker voices to be truly heard, and unlike on the management and HR responses to the VOA boards, we will not cover up or dismiss the complaints you make about your work environment:

Anonymous JFK8 worker with 1+ year experience at Amazon: "Working at Amazon has been a huge challenge that I was not prepared for. I've been hurt physically many times and did not report it because they’ve shown they don't actually care. I've been irritated and put into distress by people who work above me and am exhausted in so many ways that I'm planning on leaving because it seems like it will never change before something happens. This is one of the many reasons we need a union, to make the place we work in a fair and safe place."

LeShawn J. Hodge, former LDJ5 worker, responding to an anti-union email from management: “I find it very interesting that management has time to write emails regarding ALU. However, when I submitted my request for a COVID-19 leave due to my daughter’s school quarantine via A to Z on 10/4/2021, I was given the run around. I submitted all documents requested for a school closure yet they kept asking for a medical document. To date, I still have not been compensated for the time I had to take off.

It is instances like this that makes ALU and representation for Amazon employees so very important. It will provide a sense of accountability for the employer and make the workers feel like they matter.

This is not the first instance that I know of when documents were submitted yet nothing was processed correctly. Amazon needs to do better for and by their employees.

Due to the stressful experience during a time I was healing from surgery, I opted to resign from my position. I do not want to work for an employer that makes it this hard for an employee to be accommodated.”

Union Busting Continues

As we covered in last week’s newsletter, in response to our successes in growing the union, Amazon management and bosses are getting scared. They are spending tens of thousands of dollars a week to pay for corporate union-busters to come into the warehouses and talk to the workers in order to intimidate workers and spread lies about the ALU. That union-busting has only gotten worse in the last week. Amazon has put up more literature around the break rooms to mislead associates about the union. We know that Amazon is not only paying outside union-busters, they are also spending a lot of money, time, and effort to fly in corporate HR reps from HQ to join the campaign against the ALU.

You may have also heard about the union-busting group meetings that have started this week. Amazon is calling these sessions “mandatory trainings,” but in reality, they are meetings designed to scare and intimidate workers to reduce union support. In these meetings, HR reps are lying about the ALU. They claim that we are a “third-party” when we are workers at Amazon. They are saying the union is just a scheme for union board members to take your money, when the union’s board, dues, and policies are decided by the vote of all members. They say that we are bribing people for signatures with the food that we give away to workers, or even that they “don’t know” if you can be fired if you sign a union card or vote yes in the election. All of these things are blatant lies, but the last one is particularly egregious. It is your right to organize with a union, and it is completely illegal to face disciplinary action for participating in union activity. In fact, even saying lies like this, or attempting to imply intimidation for such activity, is a federal crime.

If you are called into one of these meetings, speak up! We’ve heard wonderful stories from associates pushing back in these meetings. As workers, they are raising their voices, and calling the union-busters out on their lies. It is your right to organize. It is your right to speak up: Amazon even claims it is a core principle of the company. Continue to speak up in these meetings, and tell your coworkers to speak up.

These meetings are emboldening more workers to join the union. They are realizing that the union is fighting for them while Amazon bosses will only lie to them.

If you know workers who are still unsure about joining the union, talk to them about their concerns and explain to them the power of joining together in a worker union. Answer their questions. Ask them “Which side are you on?” They will join us, if we all use our voices collectively.

If you want ALU materials to give to workers or post in break rooms, in order to fight back against the lies and misinformation, just ask one of the organizers at the ALU tent or send us an email!

Upcoming Events:

  • Sunday, 11/14 at 2PM - The NYC Labor Branch of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) will host an online political education event about organizing at Amazon. Our VP of Membership, Connor Spence, will be a panelist. We are encouraging all members and workers to show up to support and also to speak out and give their experiences. If you are an Amazon worker receiving this email, it means you're among the people who know the most about this topic, so it would be good to take this opportunity to educate folks about what's happening at the vanguard. You can register for the conference here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYuc-qgqT0uGNTECbdNGaVK0eD1KEF4R7D9
  • Friday, 11/26 at 3PM - Workers Assembly Against Racism (WAAR) Rally in front of Jeff Bezos’s Penthouse. Come out to 212 5th Avenue in Manhattan this Black Friday to protest Amazon and show support for the ALU.

As you all know, last week we filed the petition for the union election with the NLRB. ALU squad members showed up to the filing in Money Heist outfits (a worldwide symbol of resistance, camaraderie, and wealth redistribution), Chris wore the Salvador Dalí mask in the NLRB office, enough journalists followed in behind the ALU to startle the building security, dozens of supporters gathered outside in solidarity with Amazon workers, and a giant Jeff Bezos puppet loomed over the picketers.

There was a tremor in the force. The NLRB counted all of our signatures, published the notice of the ALU’s election petition, and set a date for a hearing with ALU and Amazon representatives regarding the election.

All of you should have received a notification link on A to Z (as required by law), sharing the NLRB notice, and there should also be notices posted in all of the buildings. Amazon’s lawyers asked to delay the NLRB hearing by two more weeks, claiming that they were unprepared (can you believe it?)—but Chris said nope, let’s do this. So the NLRB gave Amazon’s lawyers two extra days, and the hearing is now scheduled for November 17.

This will be an open hearing on Zoom, and we’ll share the link with everyone when we get it. Show up on Zoom if you can! We show our solidarity power with our numbers.

Meanwhile, in advance of the hearing, we’ve been gathering hundreds of additional signatures from workers, on top of the two thousand already collected—for the inevitable moment when Amazon lawyers claim that we don’t have enough. Management is ramping up the anti-union messaging at workers again, and now the bosses have brought in the highly paid professional “Persuaders”—the union busters—to try to scare and mislead workers into opposing a labor union made up of workers, representing all of us, with a legal duty to act in our best interests.

As former union buster Martin Jay Levitt wrote in Confessions of a Union Buster:

Union busting is a field populated by bullies and built on deceit. A campaign against a union is an assault on individuals and a war against the truth. As such, it is a war without honor. The only way to bust a union is to lie, distort, manipulate, threaten, and always, always, attack. The law does not hamper the process. Rather, it serves to suggest maneuvers and define strategies. Each “union prevention” campaign, as the wars are called, turns on a combined strategy of disinformation and personal assault.

The Union Busting Playbook

This campaign was entirely expected, and will intensify in the months ahead. Amazon’s executives are not going to let the workers assert our power without a fight, and they will continue to attack the ALU with a standard playbook of anti-union messaging. The union busters will try to talk to each and every Amazon employee to build skepticism about the union, pushing claims that the union is inexperienced (since the ALU is a new, independent union of Amazon workers), that it’s against worker interests (even though it’s a democratic organization by workers for workers), that it somehow takes away your rights or your voice (when in fact it provides a platform for all of our voices, for the sake of advancing our rights), and that union dues will be costly (even though they will be decided together as a group, after the new contract is negotiated, coming out of a tiny fraction of the wage gains we’ll win). And Amazon management will also try to play up the positives of working at Amazon, touting their below industry-average wages and benefits as “generous,” their rate-obsessed, robot managers as “caring,” and any bare minimum working accommodations as “perks.”

On the plus side, as a result of this union election drive, you should also expect to see Amazon escalate their “charm offensive,” and improve a number of minor things at the workplace over the coming months—in order to pacify workers, lower union voter turnout, and try to avoid the major improvements that we will win with the strength of ALU collective bargaining.

On the day of our last barbecue, Amazon gave out free chips to workers inside (one of the many things we give away at the tent every day). When we filed the petition, they installed a ping pong table and basketball hoop in the break room of DYY6. Now, a few more MTA buses are being added to the S40 schedule (we still demand a free direct shuttle). Some workers may be offered buyouts, others may receive small wage raises—all of this as a result of the union organizing, before we even make it to the bargaining table to demand what we deserve in a new contract. Enjoy these benefits of flexing our collective power—and keep up the struggle.

What little the Amazon executives give us, they will take away whenever they feel like it.

Amazon management taking away hazard pay, 20-minute breaks, our right to keep cellphones in work areas—without a worker alliance to collectively resist.

When a D-List Actor Wants to Get Rich…

Coworkers have already expressed concerns to ALU organizers about one union buster talking to people in JFK8. We’ve identified this consultant as David Acosta, a professional “Direct Persuader” who gets paid “$2,000/DAY PLUS EXPENSES” just to mislead workers—and who reported earning over $400,000 from union busting in 2017. Not a bad salary for a snake!

According to the union buster’s LinkedIn profile:

David Acosta has been involved in the Labor Relations field since 1997, working union election campaigns in over 30 different industries as a Direct Persuader and Senior Consultant with multiple persuaders… David developed an easy-to-follow tracking system for assessing employee-voting preference, which includes meeting attendance and vital information on each employee. He has created guidance programs for his clients enabling them to set up employee action teams, focus groups or round table counsels…

Acosta also claims that he has “worked as an actor in over 40 Hollywood films, theatrical productions and TV Shows.” We couldn’t identify him on IMDB, so that probably means he was an extra on one film, appeared in one TV pilot, and acted in 40 community theater plays…

So, Amazon flew this failed actor out from Los Angeles, and is paying for his hotel and lavish living expenses while he pretends to care about workers and schemes to undermine our ability to make a decent living. He proudly boasts about running a whole surveillance profile system to try to track our preferences and coerce us with “action teams” and “focus groups.” And he’s not the only consultant Amazon executives are paying to do this right now! They are paying tens of thousands of dollars a week to defeat our worker-led union and keep workers under their boot heel. Just imagine if Amazon spent that money actually making our lives better!

You’ve probably also seen the anti-union material showing up in bathrooms and break rooms. In response to Amazon’s flyer about knowing “the facts” about signing an ALU card, we made our own flyer that brings more honesty to this discussion of “the facts.” You can pick up copies at the ALU tent, but they may also find their way into the break areas soon…

We’ve also created some other materials highlighting the many ways that Amazon spies on and fights against its workers, including whistleblowers and union organizers. Amazon’s attacks on its employees’ rights have been documented by journalists and found in violation of the law by the NLRB.

We are not afraid of the Amazon management’s tactics, and you shouldn’t be either. But you should be vigilant. Amazon will certainly continue violating the law in order to undermine our collective efforts, just as they have consistently done until now, here in Staten Island and across the country—but we are documenting their violations and reporting each one to the NLRB. If any supervisor or consultant questions you about the union, you don’t have to say anything to them, and if they even subtly threaten, bribe, or coerce you in any way, document that and let one of the ALU organizers know! (You can email info@amazonlaborunion.org.)

Amazon management will not get away with any of their illegal tactics on our watch!


Look Out For Banners From Our Supporters!


Some things to read and watch:

The New York Times: How Amazon Crushes Unions

People’s World: Amazon workers go for bottom-up organizing in Staten Island drive

VICE Motherboard: Secret Amazon Reports Expose the Company’s Surveillance of Labor and Environmental Groups

Open Markets: Eyes Everywhere: Amazon's Surveillance Infrastructure and Revitalizing Worker Power

It’s official. The rumors are true: on Monday, October 25th, we filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board. You might have seen it on the news, or heard it from a co-worker. Thanks to all of you, together we are making history in the movement to form the first Amazon union in the United States. We are one step closer to being able to collectively negotiate a contract with management for better wages, better working conditions, better benefits, and more respect in the workplace. And we have already developed formidable strength as a group of workers united to support and defend each other. Amazon management will fight this movement with everything they’ve got, but we will keep on standing up for Amazon workers.

What comes next? Now that the ALU has filed a petition with the NLRB, the procedure will go as follows:

As you can see, there’s still a long way to go. But after this week’s filing, we’re a lot closer to solidifying the first independent union of Amazon workers. If you know coworkers who haven’t signed a union authorization card, tell them it’s not too late to sign, and it helps to show our strength before the election. Amazon’s lawyers are going to claim that the 2,000+ signatures we’ve already collected aren’t enough, just to try to delay the vote, so every card helps. Workers can stop by the ALU tent to sign a card, or sign online at: amazonlaborunion.org/sign.

Stop by the ALU tent at the bus stop, grab a snack, have a chat, and let us know what you want to demand from Amazon! We all make the union stronger together.

How To Get Involved!

The Amazon Labor Union is 100% worker run and organized. That means you, too. We encourage everyone to step up and rep the union however you want to do it. Whatever your strengths are, we need that energy too! Big on social media? Post and share content! Into art? We always need posters and graphics! Like to talk? Help spread the word to all our coworkers about why the union’s great for all of us. Like to cook? We’re always trying to provide as much food as we can for our coworkers.

If you want to participate in one of the committees we’re forming or become a union ambassador, make sure you join the ALU Telegram so you can communicate directly with other union members. You can also attend our regular meetings, or meet with the union leaders in-person at the tent next to the Frank W. Gay Blvd bus stop.

We’ll be back with more ALU news next week!

If you have a story or news tip you want to contribute to our newsletter, please email amazonlaborunion@gmail.com.

Remember to connect with and boost ALU on social media!

Twitter: @amazonlabor - Instagram: @amazonlaborunion - Our website: https://amazonlaborunion.org/

Recent press:

Associated Press: Bid to unionize Amazon workers in New York nears milestone

NPR: Amazon warehouse workers in New York file for a union vote

The Guardian: ‘Everybody’s excited’: Amazon workers in Staten Island to file for union vote

The Washington Post: Amazon warehouse workers on Staten Island seek union vote

Newsweek: Amazon Workers Prepared to 'Fight' After Company Claims Unions Aren't Good for Employees

NBC News: Amazon workers in Staten Island, N.Y., file for union election

Gizmodo: The Amazon Worker-Led Union Is Almost Ready for Election Time

People’s World: Amazon workers go for bottom-up organizing in Staten Island drive

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