Bernie Sanders Calls on Amazon to “Sit Down and Start Negotiating a Contract”

On an organizing call Monday night with leaders of the Amazon Labor Union, Sen. Bernie Sanders said he believes the grassroots group’s historic election victoryThis month, workers on the nation were able to come together and confront their corporate employers in Staten Island.

“All across this country, people are saying, ‘Whoa! If these guys at Amazon can take on that company, we can do it as well,’” said Sanders (I-Vt.), the chair of the Senate Budget Committee. “What we’re looking at, I think, is a national, sweeping movement.”

In the days since the independent union’s victory — which Amazon is attempting to overturn with a slew of formal objections — workers at more than 100 of the retail giant’s facilities across the United States have contacted the Amazon Labor Union (ALU) about organizing their workplaces, a nightmare scenario for management.

ALU’s landmark win also came amid a wave of union victories at Starbucks locations nationwide. New York: After Starbucks workers in Buffalo voted to unionizeDecember was a busy month for employees at more than a dozen of the company’s shops scored election victories in the weeks that followed — momentum that Starbucks executives are actively trying to blunt.

“People are sick and tired of corporate greed,” Sanders said during Monday’s call, which featured ALU president Christian Smalls, chair Angelika Maldonado, and Workers Committee member Michelle Valentin Nieves.

“I know that I have colleagues in the Congress who feel the same as I do,” the Vermont senator added. “Our demand now is that [Amazon’s billionaire executive chairman Jeff]Amazon and Bezos sit down and begin negotiating a contract. Our demand is that they stop spending millions trying to prevent workers from exercising their constitutional right to form a union.”

The call was made to mobilize additional union drives and directed viewers to a websiteIt aims at connecting employees with organizers and providing them with key information.

But Smalls, who? fired by Amazon in 2020 after he organized a walkout at JFK8 over the company’s inadequate pandemic safety protocols, emphasized that face-to-face conversations are essential to help workers “really understand what unions provide.”

“Find somebody that’s in a union and have a conversation with them,” Smalls suggested to workers. “And not just one conversation, it takes several conversations… At the end, you’ll probably make the decision to want to join one.”

Maldonado, a current employee at Amazon’s JFK8 facility in Staten Island, similarly stressed the importance of in-person interaction and education in laying the groundwork for unionization.

“No matter where you work,” said Maldonado, “you deserve to have certain rights that other workers in other companies do.”

The organizing call came as ALU is gearing up for a second union election in Staten Island on April 25, when voting is set to begin at Amazon’s 1,500-worker LDJ5 warehouse.

As The City reported Monday, ALU’s demands “remain the same at LDJ5: a $30-an-hour minimum wage, better working conditions, including two paid 30-minute breaks and an hour-long paid lunch break, better medical leave, additional paid time off, and eliminating productivity rates that require workers to pick a certain number of items an hour.”