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𝐼𝓃 𝒯𝒽𝒾𝓈 𝐼𝓈𝓈𝓊𝑒:
• Amazon Is Running Scared
• End Medical Debt in New York: Share your story!
• Election Day is Coming! Rally tonight with the Poor People’s Campaign
𝘼𝙢𝙖𝙯𝙤𝙣 𝙄𝙨 𝙍𝙪𝙣𝙣𝙞𝙣𝙜 𝙎𝙘𝙖𝙧𝙚𝙙
Heather Goodall, ALB1 organizer, speaks at a rally a week before the union vote
It may seem strange to claim victory after losing the recent union election at Amazon’s ALB1 warehouse in Schodack, but that’s exactly what Amazon Labor Union organizer and ALB1 worker Heather Goodall did on October 18, and she was right to do so.
In one view, Amazon has a decided advantage in these labor struggles. Amazon is a trillion dollar, global corporation, in a country where labor law overwhelmingly favors the business over the worker. Amazon can threaten, harass, and outspend any organizing efforts, and accept any miniscule penalties they may face for violating the law. At ALB1, just as in two Staten Island warehouses and everywhere workers have tried to organize a union, Amazon has done all of this and more.
At ALB1 alone, Amazon hired a small army of anti-union ‘consultants’ at pay rates of $3,200 per day. Amazon would find any excuse to fire workers who were known to support the union. Workers were subjected to ‘captive audience’ meetings, where anti-union ‘consultants’ would perpetuate lies about unions and seek to dissuade workers from signing cards or voting ‘yes’. The warehouse was blanketed with anti-union messaging on screens and in break rooms.
Meanwhile, pro-union workers were threatened with removal and had the police called repeatedly, to prevent them from talking with their co-workers. The deck is stacked in Amazon’s favor at every step of the way.
This is but one view. While the forces arrayed against the union are strong, they are not invincible. Despite everything Amazon threw at them, over 200 workers at the ALB1 facility voted to send a message to Amazon. They are tired of being treated like machines instead of people. These workers learned about and asserted their rights. They connected with workers in other facilities around the country to build networks of knowledge and solidarity. They supported one another through health crises caused by Amazon safety violations and when their members were fired for organizing. The simple fact of their organizing led Amazon to make certain concessions, most notably via wage increases. Every Amazon worker has the union, and the union alone, to thank for that.
These lessons are hard won victories, and whether they decide to stay at this warehouse and continue to organize, or seek work elsewhere, these lessons will stay with the workers.
Most importantly, the workers at ALB1 have joined their voices with those of countless others in our country to say ‘Enough is enough!’ Amidst an unprecedented global pandemic, skyrocketing rents and increased cost-of-living, and soaring corporate profits, the workers at massive corporations like Amazon, Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, and others, are taking a stand. These corporations could easily improve the conditions and standards of living for all of their workers, who are the ones actually producing value and profit for the corporation. Yet they refuse to do so because that would put a dent in their already exorbitant profits. We know these corporations are terrified of their workers being organized precisely because the corporations expend so many resources to stop that organizing in its tracks.
Amazon may have won a temporary victory, but the suits at the top shouldn’t rest too easy. These workers are just getting started.
Rev. Joe Paparone, Lead Organizer
𝙀𝙣𝙙 𝙈𝙚𝙙𝙞𝙘𝙖𝙡 𝘿𝙚𝙗𝙩 𝙞𝙣 𝙉𝙚𝙬 𝙔𝙤𝙧𝙠: 𝙎𝙝𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙮𝙤𝙪𝙧 𝙨𝙩𝙤𝙧𝙮!
No one can be truly free when they are saddled with debt that affects their ability to live and thrive. That’s why we must demand that our government work to end medical debt now. Healthcare must be a right, not a luxury!
Do you, or someone you know, have experience dealing with medical debt? Share your story today!
New York’s non-profit hospitals sued over 52,000 patients between 2015 and 2020. Hospitals are required to offer financial assistance but instead they take patients to court even though these non-profit hospitals get over $1 billion in tax support each year.
The Labor-Religion Coalition is part of a growing coalition to End Medical Debt by growing the power of patients and passing laws to protect us from predatory hospital billing.
Go to this link to share your story and we’ll reach out.
This fall, the End Medical Debt campaign will be holding several town halls around the state. Stay tuned for more details!
𝙀𝙡𝙚𝙘𝙩𝙞𝙤𝙣 𝘿𝙖𝙮 𝙞𝙨 𝘾𝙤𝙢𝙞𝙣𝙜!
November 8 is just around the corner, and in New York, voters will elect our entire state legislature, Congressional delegation, governor, and more – and we’ll decide on important ballot measures. If you haven’t already, now is the time to make a plan to vote! You can find all the information you need about your registration status, polling location and what’s on your ballot at Vote.org.
Voting is often framed as a personal choice and an individual action. But we know that it is collective action that brings transformative change – including at the ballot box. Tonight at 8 pm, join the Poor People’s Campaign for a National Virtual GOTV Rally to celebrate the work that has been done to reach over 5 million poor and low-income voters before the elections, hear the stories of directly impacted leaders, and rally to ensure that our neighbors, families, and communities are all registered to vote and equipped with a voting plan.