Sen. Bernie Sanders was among the workers’ rights advocates applauding more than 60 Amazon warehouse employees Wednesday as they staged the company’s first multi-state walkout to demand a reinstatement of breaks and fairer pay.
Noting that founder and executive chairman owns a $500 million yacht, a $23 million mansion, and is currently charging celebrities and other wealthy customers tens of millions of dollars for rides on his space company’s suborbital flights, Sanders wrote that “Amazon can afford to give its employees a $3 raise.”
“I stand in strong solidarity with the Amazon workers’ walkout,” the Vermont independent senator said.h
If Jeff Bezos can afford a $500 million yacht, a $23 million mansion with 25 bathrooms and a rocket ship to blast a comedian to outer space, you know what? Amazon can afford to give its employees a $3 raise. I stand in strong solidarity with the Amazon workers walkout.— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) March 16, 2022
The strike was organized by workers on the night shifts at three delivery stations, where employees load products onto delivery vans and sometimes work 11-hour shifts, in Queens, New York and Upper Marlboro, Maryland. The workers are paid about $15.75 to $17.25 per hour and last year had their breaks reduced from 20 minutes to 15 minutes.
With the majority of workers on the overnight shift taking part in the action, said HuffPost labor reporter Dave Jamieson, the strike was “enough to cause problems” at DMD9, the warehouse in Maryland.
This was an overnight shift and they walked out at “lunch” (just before dawn). This Amazon facility gets packages ready to go out on trucks for delivery. Workers said the walkout left a lot of managers scrambling to do their jobs in their place. “They’re freaking out,” one said.— Dave Jamieson (@jamieson) March 16, 2022
In Queens, workers at ZYO1 in Long Island City and DBK1 in Woodside convened at 4:30 a.m. after shutting down the warehouses’ conveyor belts.
The employees chanted, “Better pay, longer breaks!” and “Amazonians United will never be defeated!”
More than 60 Amazon workers at 3 warehouses staged a walkout today demanding $3 raises and a return to 20-minute breaks.https://t.co/TnED8ozrwt— More Perfect Union (@MorePerfectUS) March 16, 2022
The employees at the three warehouses “showed what solidarity looks like,” said Amazonians United, a worker-led group which has fought for higher wages at several warehouses across the country.
The strike comes as Amazon workers at a much larger warehouse facility in Bessemer, Alabama are voting on whether to join the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union in an election that ends March 25. Union supporters lost an earlier election held last year, but the National Labor Relations Board ordered a new vote after the union alleged illegal surveillance and intimidation of workers by Amazon.