Workers at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse in Staten Island, New York, are voting March 25-30 in a historic union representation election, supervised by the National Labor Relations Board. If the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) wins the vote, it will be either the first or second — depending on results of a union election in Bessemer, Alabama — U.S. Amazon facility with a union.
To convince a majority of JFK8 workers to vote yes, the ALU has assembled a dedicated phone-banking team of members and supporters, including Workers Assembly Against Racism (WAAR) volunteers Toni Arenstein and Tony Murphy.
Arenstein told Workers World: “Yesterday I spoke to a young woman, she had only been working at Amazon for a few months and said she didn’t really have any problem with Amazon as yet and wasn’t sure how she was going to vote. She said that because of the meetings organized by Amazon, she was going to vote ‘No,’ but then said, ‘Thank you for explaining so much about what having a union could bring. I will vote yes.’
“There was another call with a man who has been working for Amazon for seven years. We had a very long discussion, and he said ‘We really need the union!’ He said he is well liked by his manager but has been told he has hit top hourly wage — $21.50 an hour — and will never go higher. He put his friend on the phone as well, who said he will vote for the union. They both said another friend there was undecided about the union, but they will work on getting him to vote ‘Yes.’”
“The rules of NLRB-supervised union elections favor the bosses, giving them greater access to workers to push an anti-union narrative,” added WAAR volunteer Murphy. “That’s why it’s a critical act of solidarity for the allies in New York’s workers movement to come to the aid of the union, helping with phone banking to thousands of workers. They’ve been subjected to constant anti-union propaganda by this multi-billion dollar global company — the bosses even try to keep ALU members out of the captive audience meetings, and their leaders have been arrested more than once on bogus charges.
“The Staten Island warehouse is majority African American — and international, with workers from Pakistan, the Middle East, Latin America and elsewhere. In our calls, we’re finding a lot of rejection by the workers of Amazon’s union-busting rhetoric.”
Results of this and the Bessemer election will be released after the NLRB counts all the ballots, probably some time in April for both.
Victory to the ALU!