Amazon and Starbucks Workers Rally Outside Howard Schultz’s House Interrupted by Amazon Delivery - DMT NEWS

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Amazon and Starbucks Workers Rally Outside Howard Schultz’s House Interrupted by Amazon Delivery

Pro-union Amazon and Starbucks workers spent Labor Day marching in the streets and picketing the New York homes of the men most associated with those companies, and while they were rallying outside of billionaire former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz’s home, an Amazon delivery showed up. 

Amazon Labor Union president Christian Smalls was telling protesters that workers were in the midst of a “hot labor summer” when a delivery driver moved through the crowd holding a stack of packages. Smalls, who helped organize the first successful union drive at an Amazon warehouse earlier this year, did not miss the opportunity. 

“You going to Howard Schultz’s house?” Smalls said. “Make sure you sign a union card on the way out.” (It’s not clear from the video whether the packages were actually intended for Schultz’s house.) 

Later, workers from the companies, as well as allies and local activists, marched to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ home and then to Times Square. 

This year has seen an enormous surge of interest in the labor movement and momentum for workers. During the first half of the 2022 fiscal year, filings for union representation were up more than 50 percent, according to the National Labor Relations Board. More than 70 percent of Americans approve of unions, according to a Gallup poll released last week—the highest share in more than a half-century. 

The jump in activity has been driven largely by the explosive growth of Starbucks Workers United. The first Starbucks store in Buffalo filed for a union election last September; since then, more than 250 stores around the country have voted to unionize. 

Similarly, Amazon workers in Staten Island successfully organized a union in February, becoming the first warehouse in the United States to win a union election against one of the world’s most powerful companies, after years of organizing and failed attempts. (Amazon had explicitly sought to make Smalls the face of the union effort, with general counsel David Zapolsky referring to the former Amazon warehouse worker as “not smart or articulate” in a 2020 memo.) 

Amazon and Starbucks, however, have continued to fight tooth and nail against unionization. More than 70 vocally pro-union Starbucks workers across the country have been fired this year, and Starbucks Workers United has accused the company of retaliatory firings, suspensions, store closings, shift reductions, and withholding benefits from unionized stores. (The NLRB has found merit to the union’s claims in several instances, including in New York, Memphis, and Phoenix, and taken the company to court to reinstate fired workers.) 

Bezos stepped down as Amazon CEO last year, though he remains executive chair of the company’s board of directors. Schultz, who previously served as Starbucks CEO in two different stints, returned as interim CEO this year following the successful union effort in Buffalo. Last week, Starbucks named former Pepsi executive Laxman Narasimhan as its new CEO. 

“We are hopeful that Mr. Narasimhan will end Starbucks’ scorched earth union-busting campaign and work with all Starbucks partners to make Starbucks a better company and better place to work,” Starbucks Workers United organizer Michelle Eisen said in a statement last week. 

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via https://www.DMT.NEWS

Paul Blest, Khareem Sudlow