ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Workers from the Amazon fulfillment center in Schodack, also known as ALB1, hit the streets of Albany Sunday afternoon. The workers gathered to show support for not just their unionization efforts but those at several facilities across the country.
“We’re going to fight to the death and we are not going to stop,” says Amazon worker and union campaign manager Heather Goodall. “Right now, Amazon has started its anti-union campaign at the facility. So today we’re supporting our workers to go ahead and move forward with a petition.”
Goodall says the trouble she and other union organizers continue to face is getting workers to speak up. She hopes Sunday’s rally changes that saying, “Today’s message is to educate. We have educated our employees on their rights and now we are empowering you to take back your rights. Take your life back.”
Goodall says she wants to hit Amazon with a “domino effect’, hoping to get other facilities across the Empire State to follow Staten Island and Schodack’s footsteps. “We are going to be New York strong and make New York the first state-wide Amazon union. We are here to say we are not going away.”
President of the Amazon Labor Union, known as ALU, Chris Smalls says the effort to unionize at Amazon facilities is a “revolution”. Smalls is urging Governor Kathy Hochul to sign a bill passed in the state legislature this year. The bill takes aim at Amazon’s production quotas, which Smalls and Goodall say have led to increased injuries at Amazon’s facilities.
“It’s been sitting on her desk for weeks. Jessica Ramos is the one who brought it to the floor. We helped amplify that. I’ve been up here several times on behalf of that bill so we’re going to call that out and if she don’t, we’re going to have to pull up to her doorstep. We know how to find her,” Smalls says.
In a statement, Amazon spokesperson Kelly Nantel says: “While there are many established ways of ensuring we hear the opinions of our employees inside our business, we also respect their right to make their opinions known externally. As we have consistently stated, our employees have the choice of whether or not to join a union. They always have. As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our employees. Our focus remains on working directly with our team to continue making Amazon a great place to work.”
Amazon ALB1 Schodack’s prime week union rally will be teaming up with fellow Amazon coworkers in Staten Island who has organized under the banner of the Amazon Labor Union. The one million square foot Amazon fulfillment center opened in Rensselaer County in September 2020.
Almost two years later, Amazon workers, like union campaign manager Heather Goodall, are taking the next steps to unionize. Organizers of the labor union said they also stand in solidarity with the dozens of Amazon warehouses across the country doing the same.