Labor Activists March to Bezos’s NYC Penthouse

Labor activists marched between the Manhattan penthouses top Amazon and Starbucks executives on Monday to demand recognition of unionized workers as well as an end to anti-worker labor-busting practices at both firms.

The March for Recognition organized by Amazon Labor Union (ALU), began at Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s penthouse. Protesters then marched up Fifth Avenue to Amazon executive chairman Jeff Bezos’s penthouse, before ending the march with a rally in Times Square — the “heart of capitalism,” as one speaker dubbed it.

Amazon union organizers Bessemer, Alabama, and Starbucks and Amazon organizers from across New York joined the protest, along with workers from Trader Joe’s and Google who spoke at the rally. Protesters also brought “Scabby the Rat,” a mascotOften brought out by labor organizers to support union causes, inflated it in front of Bezos’s building.

“The way we’re organizing is real grassroots, nontraditional, new school, new generation of organizing, and that’s what it’s going to take to get these companies to bend a knee and come to the table,” ALU President Chris Smalls told protesters in front of Schultz’s building, per Gothamist.

Protesters marched to Times Square Smalls yelled, “billionaires have got to go!”

As ALU noted in its press release on the protest, it’s been More than five months since workers at the JFK8 Amazon warehouse in Staten Island voted for union representation, but “Amazon continues to deny the clear results.” Amazon may soon be forced by law to recognize the union, however; last week, A federal labor official rejected Amazon’s attempt to overturn the results of the JFK8 election, a decision that will likely be held up by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB).

Workers organizing with Starbucks Workers United also protested for recognition from the company in New York and at planned “sip-ins” in about 110 stores in 25 states across the country over the weekend. Although the protests were over, 220 stores have wonTheir union elections were not valid and the company had only Organized bargaining sessionsThree of the stores were still open as of last month. According to the union’s data, the company had fired over 90 union leaders in its anti union campaign.

“Worker solidarity scares them because they know we have the power,” Brooklyn Starbucks worker Megan DiMotta told ralliers in front of Schultz’s building.

Starbucks may also be in legal trouble. New York City Mayor Eric Adams’s administration filed a lawsuit against the company last week over its firing of a pro-union worker in Queens, for allegedly violating the city’s law mandating that workers can’t be fired without “just cause.”