It’s a moment of increased bargaining power for the US working class. Workers on the order of millions are quitting their jobs and finding new ones that will pay them better. Those with unions are more willing to fight to begin undoing prior concessions, their confidence bolstered by the realization that employers will have more trouble than usual replacing them should they strike; that these fights do not approach the level of struggle of the 1970s, much less the 1930s, do not make them insignificant. And the momentum is with reformers within unions: see recent efforts to transform the United Auto Workers and the Teamsters, two still mighty organizations even after sustained and systematic decline.Continue reading
According to the settlement, the online behemoth Amazon said it would reach out to its warehouse workers — former and current — via email who were on the job anytime from March 22 to now to notify them of their organizing rights. The settlement outlines that Amazon workers, which number 750,000 in the U.S., have more room to organize within the buildings. For example, Amazon pledged it will not threaten workers with discipline or call the police when they are engaging in union activity in exterior non-work areas during non-work time.
According to the terms of the settlement, the labor board will be able to more easily sue Amazon— without going through a laborious process of administrative hearings — if it found that the online company reneged on its agreement.Continue reading
On Wednesday morning, several dozen Amazon workers at two separate Chicago-area delivery stations staged a walkout to demand raises and safer working conditions, making it the first time the tech giant has seen a multi-site work stoppage in the United States.
Coming just three days before Christmas to ensure maximum impact, the action caps a year of intense organizing and protest by Amazon warehouse workers who have been on the frontlines of both the Covid-19 pandemic and extreme weather events.
Organized by the labor network Amazonians United, the walkouts occurred during the morning shifts at the company’s DIL3 facility in Chicago’s Gage Park neighborhood and at the DLN2 warehouse in the nearby town of Cicero.Continue reading
The Teamsters, along with RDWSU and other worker advocacy groups belonging to the coalition calling on New York State Governor Kathy Hochul to back new anti-trust legislation pending in the Legislature, rallied outside the Amazon Go outlet at the corner of Church and Cortland streets in Manhattan this week, before marching over to the Port Authority offices where the agency was busy behind closed doors planning a new regional hub for Amazon at Newark Airport.Continue reading
Hundreds of Amazon employees at warehouses across the mid-Atlantic are organizing to push the company to allow workers to keep their phones with them throughout their shifts and adopt an inclement weather policy in the aftermath of the collapse of the Amazon warehouse in Illinois that killed six workers.
The Amazon workers are demanding that Amazon pay workers for shifts cancelled due to inclement weather. And during school closures, they want Amazon to excuse all absences caused by severe weather and to be paid 80 percent of their salary.Continue reading
In the aftermath of a rare string of December tornadoes last Friday night that left 80 people dead across six states, labor activists are questioning why employees at two large worksites in the path of destruction were left exposed to danger.
A candle factory in Mayfield, Kentucky was totally destroyed after sustaining a direct tornado hit with 110 workers inside. At least eight people died and dozens more were severely injured. At the same time, an Amazon delivery station in Edwardsville, Illinois was also hit by a tornado during a shift change, causing the roof to fly off and part of an exterior wall to collapse, killing six workers ranging in age from 26 to 62.
As search-and-rescue teams sifted through the rubble the next morning, Amazon founder and world’s second-richest person Jeff Bezos was celebrating another successful rocket launch by his private spaceflight company Blue Origin.Continue reading
Amazon was accused Saturday of putting corporate profits above worker safety following the tornado-caused partial collapse of a St. Louis-area warehouse that left at least six people dead.
“Time and time again Amazon puts its bottom line above the lives of its employees,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), in a statement. “Requiring workers to work through such a major tornado warning event as this was inexcusable.”
Appelbaum’s remarks came after an outbreak of over 20 devastating tornadoes late Friday tore through multiple states and killed dozens of people. In addition to Illinois, affected states included Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee.Continue reading
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has just ruled that a historic union vote held earlier this year among Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) was not valid. The highly publicized vote, which took place over several weeks in February and March 2021, resulted in a resounding defeat for the union, with more than 70 percent of those voting choosing against union membership. Stuart Appelbaum, president of RWDSU, accused Amazon of engaging in “efforts to gaslight its own employees,” and filed a petition in April to nullify the vote. After investigating the union’s assertion, the NLRB decided that Amazon interfered so blatantly in its workers’ ability to vote that a second election is now in order.Continue reading
“Amazon is the epoch-defining corporation of the moment in a way that Walmart was two decades ago,” said Howard W, an Amazon warehouse worker and organizer with Amazonians United, a grassroots movement of Amazon workers building shop-floor power. What can organizers at Amazon learn from the Walmart campaigns in the 2000s? And what can these two efforts teach us about organizing at scale? Unions haven’t successfully organized an employer with more than 10,000 workers in decades, so getting to scale is one of the most pressing challenges for the social justice movements.Continue reading
Amazon is the epoch-defining corporation of the moment in a way that Walmart was two decades ago,” said Howard W, an Amazon warehouse worker and organizer with Amazonians United, a grassroots movement of Amazon workers building shop-floor power. What can organizers at Amazon learn from the Walmart campaigns in the 2000s? And what can these two efforts teach us about organizing at scale? Unions haven’t successfully organized an employer with more than 10,000 workers in decades, so getting to scale is one of the most pressing challenges for the social justice movements.
To explore these questions, Howard was joined by Wade Rathke, who, as chief organizer of ACORN in the U.S. from 1970 – 2008, anchored a collaboration among ACORN, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) that aimed to organize Walmart.Continue reading
As a congestion crisis continues to stall polluting container ships in ports around the world, there is a growing awareness of the role that international shipping plays in both the climate crisis and the public-health impacts of air pollution.
Released on Cyber Monday, a new report from Ship It Zero coalition members Stand.earth and Pacific Environment details the relationship between four major retailers that ship goods to the U.S. — Walmart, Amazon, Target and IKEA — and the fossil-fueled carrier companies that make that shipping possible.
“Major retail companies and cargo carriers are flush with cash from pandemic-driven record breaking profits and are tightening their already close relationships,” Stand.earth shipping campaigns director Kendra Ulrich said in a statement emailed to EcoWatch.Continue reading
In a victory for employees at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, a federal labor official on Monday formally directed a new union election following allegations that the company engaged in illegal misconduct leading up to an unsuccessful vote in April.
Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), celebrated the order from National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 10 Director Lisa Henderson, which a spokesperson for the agency confirmed to multiple media outlets.
“Today’s decision confirms what we were saying all along—that Amazon’s intimidation and interference prevented workers from having a fair say in whether they wanted a union in their workplace—and as the regional director has indicated, that is both unacceptable and illegal,” Appelbaum said.Continue reading
In July 2021, the world witnessed Jeff Bezos’ ‘best day ever” as he travelled to space. It was not long after stepping out of his shuttle that the richest man in the world thanked all Amazon employees and customers, adding “because you guys paid for all of this”.
The public outrage at this crass and true statement was huge and justified. Amazon is notorious for cutting workers out, be that of a collective say at work, of an employment contract or even of a toilet break. Work pressure is high, workers’ every move is monitored and any hint of discontent is met with fierce repression.
What the world didn’t know at that time, was that Bezos forgot to thank another group that paid for this space walk: taxpayers.Continue reading
The emissions created by Black Friday sales are “phenomenally’ high”. Research from money.co.uk has found that shoppers could emit over 386,243 tonnes of carbon emissions in 2021.
That is the equivalent of 215,778 return flights between London and Sydney, and the same weight as 3,679 blue whales.
In the UK, activists from across the country are taking part, with 13 blockades in Doncaster, Darlington, Newcastle, Manchester, Peterborough, Derby, Coventry, Rugeley, Dartford, Bristol, Tilbury, Milton Keynes and Dunfermline.
These sites account for just over 50 per cent of Amazon deliveries in the UK.
The aim of the protest is to disrupt Amazon’s business on what is one of the biggest shopping days of the year in order to force the global giant into changing its “highly climate-destructive corporate practices”.Continue reading
Climate activists are blockading Amazon warehouses across the U.K. on Friday in an attempt to pressure the ecommerce giant on one of its busiest days of the year to improve working conditions and end business practices that hurt the environment.
Members of Extinction Rebellion targeted 13 Amazon fulfilment centers in the United Kingdom with the aim of disrupting 50% of the company’s deliveries on Black Friday, which marks the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season.
Activists blocked the entrance to Amazon’s warehouse in Tilbury, just east of London, with an effigy of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos sitting on top of a rocket.
At Amazon’s distribution center in Dunfermline, Scotland, about 20 Extinction Rebellion members strung banners across the entrance road that said “Make Amazon Pay” and locked themselves together, stopping trucks from entering and some from leaving.Continue reading