On Sunday, April 24, the independent Amazon Labor Union held a rally outside the JFK8 fulfillment center on Staten Island, New York, where, just one month ago, workers shocked the world by becoming the first Amazon workforce in the US to successfully vote to unionize. With supporters from organized labor and the surrounding community showing up in full force, along with high-profile appearances from Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, worker-organizers with the ALU showed their support for their coworkers at the LDJ5 sorting center, another facility in the same complex that is voting in their own union election this week. If LDJ5 becomes the second Amazon facility to unionize, it will prove that what happened at JFK8 was not a fluke, but the beginning of a historic movement to unionize the second largest private employer in the US and one of the most powerful corporations in the world.

In this special episode of Working People, we put together a compilation of speeches from the rally along with interviews TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez conducted on the ground with Amazon workers and other special guests. Speakers/interviewees include: Christian Smalls, president of the Amazon Labor Union; Derrick Palmer, vice president of organizing for the Amazon Labor Union; Jordan Flowers, cofounder of the Congress of Essential Workers and the Amazon Labor Union; Senator Bernie Sanders; Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Karen Ponce, interim secretary of the Amazon Labor Union; Julian Mitchell-Israel, LDJ5 Amazon worker, field organizer for the Amazon Labor Union; Maddie Wesley, LDJ5 Amazon worker, treasurer of the Amazon Labor Union; Kshama Sawant, (socialist) Seattle City Council Member; Sara Nelson, international president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO; Charles Jenkins, elected officer of the Transport Worker Union Local 100 and president of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU) NY Chapter; Brittany Ramos DeBarros, candidate for Congress in New York’s 11th District; Luis Feliz Leon, staff writer and organizer for Labor Notes; Michelle Valentin Nieves, worker-organizer with the Amazon Labor Union.

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Featured Music (all songs sourced from the Free Music Archive at freemusicarchive.org):
Jules Taylor, “Working People Theme Song

Pre-Production: Maximillian Alvarez
Post-Production: Jules Taylor


Transcript

The transcript of this interview will be made available as soon as possible.

Maximillian Alvarez

Editor-in-Chief

Ten years ago, I was working 12-hour days as a warehouse temp in Southern California while my family, like millions of others, struggled to stay afloat in the wake of the Great Recession. Eventually, we lost everything, including the house I grew up in. It was in the years that followed, when hope seemed irrevocably lost and help from above seemed impossibly absent, that I realized the life-saving importance of everyday workers coming together, sharing our stories, showing our scars, and reminding one another that we are not alone. Since then, from starting the podcast Working People—where I interview workers about their lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles—to working as Associate Editor at the Chronicle Review and now as Editor-in-Chief at The Real News Network, I have dedicated my life to lifting up the voices and honoring the humanity of our fellow workers.
 
Email: max@therealnews.com
 
Follow: @maximillian_alv