ALU Newsletter #3: Which Side Are You On?
11/12/2021 update from the Amazon Labor Union in Staten Island
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!
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.
We’ll be back with more ALU news next week!
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