First Amazon Labor Union Formed

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Amazon has frequently come under fire for poor labor practices.

Alejandra Salas, Editor

A potential shift in the history of union membership has been made now that the first Amazon Labor Union was approved. The Labor Union consists of thousands of former and present Amazon workers, employed at a warehouse in Staten Island. This pivotal victory has given hope to laborers seeking better and safer working conditions after a long-lasting fight with Amazon.

What evoked Amazon workers to initiate a union was the enduring workplace of inconsistent care and safety for them. Despite the long hours of labor, workers are exploited, having to deal with low pay, limited breaks, including bathroom breaks, and unhostile conditions in regard to their safety. 

For the President of the Union, Christian Smalls, his journey started two years ago, when at the rise of the pandemic, Amazon failed to protect its workers, one of them being him. According to Smalls, Amazon neglected them, stating that “they had no masks, no cleaning supplies, no social distancing, and no real guidance.” Following this, he led a walkout and now, two years later, his hope for a labor union is a reality. 

According to npr.org, Christian Smalls has been getting contacted by a lot of individuals asking how to get involved. He states that over 50 buildings all over the country and the world have reached out to them. 

“The world is definitely paying attention now and these workers are paying attention now, which is the best thing possible because that’s exactly what we plan on doing,” Smalls said.

In an interview with CNBC, Smalls admitted that fighting for a labor union was not easy. He traveled the country and advocated for workers’ rights, and even when Jeff Bezos questioned his abilities stating that he wasn’t “smart or articulate” to make him the face of unionized efforts, he didn’t give up. However, he knew that they would be victorious and that was confirmed when they won against Amazon on April 1st. 

“We know our coworkers, this is the reason why we decided to have this independent worker led union.” Smalls said. “We know the ins and outs of the company, even better than the company knows its own workers.”

From here on out the Amazon Labor Union will start in New York and plans on expanding throughout the world. Their demands will consist of higher wages amid rising cost of living, paid time off for workers injured on the job, 20-minute breaks, and allow ALU representatives into Amazon anti-union “trainings.”  By improving the quality of life and work environment, the Labor Union hopes to gather more supporters against the unfair Amazon labor practices.

The Explorer supports and stands with the oppressed workers battling with a multinational company and hopes that little by little, the working people get their long overdue fair treatment.