After an unprecedented sit-down strike at JFK8 facility in Staten Island protesting deplorable working conditions, Amazon has suspended the workers who led the action for workplace safety. These suspensions come not only after this historic action, but while there is a major organizing campaign throughout the country spearheaded by Amazon Labor Union (ALU). This act of retaliation is a pathetic attack against workers who demand a reasonably safe workspace. In a statement on the actions, ALU gave a list of 3 grievances citing Amazon’s lack of concern for the lives of their workers, insulting $.25 raises and refusal to recognize the union. Amazon’s poor track record of workplace safety has only gotten worse as they have increased their drive to place profits over people.
These actions by Amazon should remind us of the Triangle factory fire in 1911. In retaliation to job actions by the International Garment Workers Union, the Triangle factory owners had politicians and police arrest and imprison organizers and striking women who wanted higher pay and shorter, more predictable hours. On March 25th, 1911, a fire broke out in the factory, which was shoddily built to save on costs, had no proper way to escape a fire, and the doors to the stairwells and exits were intentionally locked by the owners to keep union organizers out and workers in the factory. Over 140 women and 23 men died within a matter of minutes. The factory owners were never convicted.
No worker deserves to be treated in such a demeaning and dangerous manner. The workers of LUEL stand in solidarity with the workers at JFK8 who bravely stood up for their basic rights as workers.