In a newly opened Staten Island Amazon warehouse, workers have declared their intent to unionize. The news comes at a less than model time for the retail giant, which is in the midst of opening one of two “HQ2” locations in nearby Long Island City, Queens.
The push also arrives as Amazon has faced increased inspection over the management of employees in its fulfilment centres. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders applied pressure against CEO Jeff Bezos, finally compelling the company to raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour.
In an interview with Bloomberg, employees protested against working conditions and compared their treatment to robots. The employees are wishing to influence the huge incentives the city dangled in an attempt to woo the company during its long-standing competition for a second headquarters. All told, incentives total around $3 billion, a fact that has caused dismay among citizens and local officials who were detached in the decision-making process.
“There’s never been greater leverage — if taxpayers are giving Amazon $3 billion, then taxpayers have the right to demand that Amazon stop being a union-busting company,” the president of Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union told the site. “It’s incumbent upon the governor and the mayor to make sure that nothing happens to these workers who are standing up for their rights. If Amazon continues its union-busting activities in New York, they should call off the deal.”
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