Amazon Labor Union president Christian Smalls stands on stage facing a crowd of supporters at an ALU rally held outside of the Amazon JFK8 fulfillment center on Staten Island, New York, on April 24, 2022. Screenshot/TRNN
After the independent and worker-led Amazon Labor Union made history by unionizing the JFK8 fulfillment center on Staten Island—the first Amazon facility in the US to successfully vote to unionize—workers at a second facility in the same Staten Island complex, the LDJ5 sorting center, are voting in their own union election this week. On Sunday, April 24, the ALU held a rally in support of LDJ5 workers, featuring speeches from Amazon worker-organizers, labor leaders from other unions, and high-profile supporters like Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Kshama Sawant. In this on-the-ground report, TRNN Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez and professional videographer Thomas Hedges speak with rally attendees about the significance of the LDJ5 union election and the broader grassroots movement to unionize the second-largest private employer in the US.
Pre-Production/Studio: Thomas Hedges Post-Production: Thomas Hedges, Cameron Granadino
The transcript of this video will be made available as soon as possible.
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The Amazon Labor Union is just getting started
by Maximillian Alvarez and Thomas Hedges, The Real News Network April 27, 2022
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.
Thomas Hedges is a freelance photographer, videographer and writer based out of New York/New Jersey. His work has appeared in The Guardian, Salon, Demos, The Nation, NowThis, Brut. Media, Thrillist, and CBS. Hedges formerly worked as a producer for TRNN. Follow him @TAHedges.