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Staten Island Amazon Workers Stage Work Stoppage After Fire At Warehouse

At least 100 unionized employees at an Amazon fulfillment center on Staten Island refused to return to work for several hours on Monday evening after a fire broke out at the facility. Chris Smalls, president of the Amazon Labor Union, said 500 workers refused to return to work, after a fire blazed on a shipping dock beside the warehouse. “Amazon refuses to let night shift be excused with pay,” Smalls said. “Amazon management is threatening time deductions and written warnings for not returning back to the floor. The dock smells like burnt chemicals.”

No Tech For Apartheid Israel

In this episode of The Watchdog, former Google employee Ariel Koren joins Lowkey and articulates her experience at the big tech giant, claiming it has gradually developed an institutionalised pro-Israeli bias. She also reveals ways in which employees attempting to hold the company accountable for unethical contracts, such as that of Project Nimbus, are being targeted and intentionally silenced. Google, alongside Amazon, has signed a contract worth $1.2 billion, titled “Project Nimbus”, which will provide a cloud system service for both the Israeli military and the Israeli government. Disturbingly, the project was announced May in 2021, the same month Israel killed at least 260 Palestinians in Gaza. Adding insult to injury, it was during this period that Amnesty International found Israel guilty of practising Apartheid against the Palestinian people.

No Tech For Apartheid

Tech workers held actions in multiple cities Sept. 8, demanding Big Tech drop its Project Nimbus contract with the apartheid police state of Israel. Project Nimbus is a $1.2 billion-dollar contract Amazon and Google have with the Israeli government and military for “cloud computing” that aids in surveillance and persecution of the Palestinian people through artificial intelligence. Actions were held in Seattle, New York City, San Francisco and Durham, North Carolina. In Seattle, activists spoke about reasons why workers will not support the Zionist project and oppose the cooperation of Israeli forces with the Seattle Police Department. The Palestinian people face untold horrors of oppression by the Israeli government.

Companies Are Required To Report Their Union Busting, But Many Don’t

$4.3 million in one year spent on anti-union activities at Amazon. $2,625 a day to stop UPS drivers from fighting for their survival amid heat waves and a lack of air-conditioning in their trucks. Over $1 million spent on the union-busting firm Labor Relations Institute to stop stressed-out truck drivers at concrete distributor Cemex from unionizing. Without the mandatory filings with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) under the Labor-Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA) of 1959, few of us would know about the extent of companies’ union busting or the consultants they engage to lurk in warehouses and on worksites to undermine workers’ union sympathies.

Albany Amazon Warehouse Workers File For Union Election

New York - Workers at an Amazon fulfillment center just outside of Albany filed petitions requesting a union election, the National Labor Relations Board confirmed this week. The Amazon Labor Union, the group of former and current employees that formed Amazon’s first union at a warehouse on Staten Island, filed to represent roughly 400 workers at the facility in Schodack, according to Kayla Blado, a spokesperson for the NLRB. The NLRB will tally up the union cards in the coming days to verify the union surpassed the 30 percent threshold required to hold an official vote, Blado said. “We are incredibly excited and proud,” said Cassio Mendoza, a spokesperson for the ALU, in a statement. The group planned to address the public outside the NLRB offices in Albany on Wednesday afternoon.

Amazon Employees Hold First-Ever Work Stoppage In Air Freight Division

After months of working in what they say are unsafe weather conditions for wages that leave them struggling to afford basic necessities, more than 150 workers at Amazon's air freight hub in Southern California walked out mid-shift on Monday to demand fair treatment by the trillion-dollar company. As The Washington Post reported, the walkout at the San Bernardino facility, KSBD, was the first-ever work stoppage in Amazon's crucial air freight division, which keeps millions of packages moving throughout the U.S. each day. Managers at the warehouse were forced to slow down operations Monday in anticipation of the action. The employees are demanding a $5-per-hour raise, which would bring their starting wage to $22 per hour and make it easier for them to pay for housing in an area where the average rent is $1,650 per month.

Urgent Appeal For Unity And Mass Action Against Union Busting

The national wave of union organizing and militancy spearheaded by Starbucks workers and Amazon workers is the biggest upsurge in worker organizing since the 1930s and 1940s. The organizing wave has spread to Trader Joe’s, Chipotle, Apple, REI and a growing list of chain stores and industries. However, this uprising of workers, which holds the potential of not only saving the labor movement, but transforming it, is under life-threatening attack. We must unite in defense of the brave young workers that are the vanguard of this transformative workers struggle. From their corporate boardrooms down to their worksite managers, Starbucks and Amazon are engaged in an outright war to crush the organizing wave. Starbucks is firing union organizers, closing stores, cutting workers hours, and denying pro-union workers wage increases and benefits.

Strikes Spread Across Amazon UK Warehouses

On August 3, over 700 workers at the Amazon facility in Tilbury, Essex downed tools and launched a protest in the warehouse cafeteria against a pay offer of a mere 0.35 ($0.42) increase per hour. The offer would amount to an increase of 3%, at a time when inflation in the UK is projected to rise to 13%, amounting to a real-terms pay cut for workers. The strike action soon spread to another Amazon warehouse in Rugeley, Staffordshire. Over a 100 workers walked out to protest a 0.50 pay increase offer, with one worker telling Birmingham Mail that it was an “embarrassment of [an] announcement that comes as a mockery towards current employees”. The action is being supported by the GMB Union, which has been organizing workers at Amazon facilities in the UK for years. Amazon does not recognize any unions at its warehouses in the country.

US Labor Fights Back Against Amazon’s Expansion Into Healthcare

On July 21, Amazon announced that the corporation would buy One Medical, a national chain of healthcare clinics and services based in San Francisco, for $3.9 million. In response, unions and labor organizations marched in San Francisco’s Financial District against the deal on July 26. The march was attended by the newly-formed Amazon Labor Union (ALU), with ALU president Chris Smalls leading chants at the helm of the protest, as well as the California Labor Federation, San Francisco Labor Council, ALU, California Nurses Association, Teamsters Local 665, and Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW). “We think health care is high on the list of experiences that need reinvention,” said Neil Lindsay, SVP of Amazon Health Services, in a July 21 statement.

Amazon Joins The Medicare Privatization Spree

Amazon, the $1.25 trillion company founded and led by Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos, has announced that it is acquiring One Medical, a private equity-backed primary care provider that generates over half of its revenue from Medicare. While Amazon’s profits from its core consumer retail business are dwindling, in part because of heightened competition from brick-and-mortar retailers that were shut down at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the corporation’s cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, continues to enjoy robust profits thanks in part to generous government contracts. Now Amazon could be attempting to build on that federal largesse by seeking to milk revenue from Medicare, the national health insurance program for seniors and people with disabilities.

How Bezos And His Company Wrap Themselves In The Flag

Corporate America loves to proclaim its love and support for "our veterans." The persistent problem of veteran suicide has provided big firms with an opportunity to demonstrate their concern about the health and well-being of former military personnel, including those they employ. Unfortunately, at companies like Amazon, this performative patriotism does not involve improving working conditions or changing any management practices that might actually make them better employers, even while they pledge to hire more employees with military backgrounds.

Labor Notes 2022: Which Way Forward For The Movement?

After decades of decline and stagnation, U.S. Labor stands at a crossroads. On one side is the same old path of the labor bureaucracy that has sold its soul to the Democratic Party and which has no vision for a renewed labor movement beyond further entrenching itself in the U.S. state. On the other side are the thousands of new young activists and workers marching to the beat of a new grassroots unionism who have the potential to build a national movement to organize millions of workers from below. The formation of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) and the victory at the Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, as well as the hundreds of new Starbucks stores that have formed unions in the last four months show the power and potential of rank-and-file organizing.

How Amazon And Starbucks Workers Are Upending The Organizing Rules

“Workers are reaching out to our union in unprecedented numbers,” says Alan Hanson, organizing director for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 in the Washington, D.C., area. “And they’re coming to us in a way I’ve never seen. “The checklist that staff organizers have — get a list, identify leaders, make sure the organizing committee is diverse and represents all departments and classifications — these workers are coming to us and they have already done all of that. I haven’t had four successful worker-generated organizing campaigns in my entire career and we just had four in four months.” At one of those shops, Union Kitchen, a D.C.-based grocery store, workers went on a three-day strike before their union was even certified, a level of militancy that seemed all but extinct but has now begun reappearing in nascent organizing campaigns.

Amazon Won’t Stop Union Busting And Firing Organizers

On April 1, the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) achieved a historic victory when 55 percent of workers at a Staten Island warehouse voted to form the first Amazon union in the United States. The news shook the labor movement around the world as millions celebrated and the victory of these hyper-exploited workers against one of the richest men in the world. Amazon has still not recognized the union, and has been trying to challenge the election results. In doing so, the company is delaying the start of the negotiation process for a first contract. The union busters who harassed thousands of workers at the JFK8 warehouse moved on to LDJ5, which is five times smaller, to prevent a second victory for ALU. As if this were not enough, Amazon is firing pro-union workers and organizers.

Amazon Gets Huge Contract Despite Biden’s Union Pledge

The Biden administration has re-awarded a massive $10 billion federal contract to Amazon, even as the president is facing mounting pressure to fulfill his promise to halt such contracts to companies that refuse to remain neutral in union elections. The contract decision came as Amazon responded to its workers’ first successful union drive by busting the organizing drive that followed. At issue is Biden’s 2020 promise to “ensure federal contracts only go to employers who sign neutrality agreements committing not to run anti-union campaigns.” Amid revelations of Amazon’s aggressive efforts to shut down a union drive among its workers, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Ind.-Vt.) last month sent a letter to Biden “asking you to fulfill that promise… to make sure that federal dollars do not flow into the hands of unscrupulous employers who engage in union-busting, participate in wage theft, or violate labor law.”
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