Tuesday August 16, 2022
| Last update: Tuesday at 12:24 PM

New York rallies for Amazon workers

By staff |
February 21, 2021
Read more articles in
Solidarity with Amazon workers in NYC.
Solidarity with Amazon workers in NYC. (Fight Back! News/staff)

New York, NY - Between February 8 and March 29, over 6000 Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, are voting on joining the Retail, Wholesale Department Store Workers Union (RWDSU). On Saturday, February 20, there was a national day of action called by the Southern Workers Assembly, with actions taking place in over 50 cities across the country.

This struggle is in response to the exploitative conditions faced by Amazon workers.

While CEO Jeff Bezos’ net worth is $194.2 billion, Amazon workers do not have a union and do not make living wages. Amazon has faced lawsuits for failing to provide proper PPE to workers and having a racist bias in response to COVID-19. Amazon workers have even resorted to wearing diapers during their shifts to avoid taking breaks and risking punishment.

In the New York City area, there were two rallies. One of them took place in at Union Square and was organized by the Workers Assembly Against Racism. The other action was organized by the December 12th Movement in East New York, Brooklyn.

At the Brooklyn protest, over 40 people rallied in front of the recently opened Amazon warehouse. The speakers talked about the exploitation of Amazon workers, the need to support their unionization, and how Amazon has impacted New Yorkers.

There have been efforts made in New York City to unionize Amazon workers. One speaker from the December 12th Movement talked about the unionization effort made in Staten Island. In 2019, an Amazon warehouse worker, Rashad Long, was fired after an attempt to unionize the workers there. His firing was due to a supposed safety violation, but Long saw it was an excuse to fire him for his organizing. He put in a complaint to the National Labor Relations Board, because workers have the right to discuss unionization without retaliation.

Much like how the Alabama Amazon workers are a majority Black workforce, East New York is a predominantly African American neighborhood.

Assemblywoman Inez Barron spoke about how the new warehouse in East New York will be bad for the community. Barron mentioned that there is a public school near the warehouse, and how the increased presence of trucks in the area will result in more emissions that can have serious consequences for the health of those students.

The rally lasted for about an hour, and then closed out with some chants, including “Amazon workers, we got your back!” and “Stand and fight, a union is a human right!”