ALU Newsletter #15: The Moment We've All Been Waiting For
3/20/2022 update from the Amazon Labor Union in Staten Island
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!
Amazon Labor Union @amazonlabor7 days until our union election begins at JFK8 in Staten Island!! Can we get #UnionizeAmazon trending? 👀
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!
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.