After Status Coup Exposed Them, Amazon Takes Down Union-Busting Signs in NY Warehouse
"I think they read your article," Amazon Staten Island worker tells Status Coup
After Status Coup’s report last week exposing Amazon’s all-out bombardment of anti-union signs throughout its Staten Island JFK8 warehouse, Status Coup has learned Amazon has taken down a significant amount of union-busting signs near work stations, break rooms, on televisions, and near the receiving deck.
“I think they read your article,” one Staten Island warehouse worker told Status Coup. In one example, a TV that was displaying anti-union messaging was blank with the caption “Deleted.”
“The only flyers left are still in the bathrooms,” the Amazon Staten Island worker told Status Coup about the back of the massive 855,000 square feet warehouse (the size of 15 football fields). “I don't see any flyers on the tables either,” the worker added.
The worker added that the remaining signs still up are “repeating the less aggressive verbiage that we saw 1 month ago-I guess they’re toning it down.”
An Amazon source told Status Coup some of the signs Amazon took down where messages aimed at planting seeds of doubt in workers about The Congress of Essential Workers [TCOEW], a group started by Amazon whistleblower Christian Smalls, who was fired by Amazon at the beginning of the COVID pandemic for organizing workers against the company’s unsafe working conditions.
The taken down anti-TCOEW signs had claimed TCOEW had a lack of financial accountability; it also aimed to group the current Staten Island workers attempting to unionize—who formed Amazon Labor Union [ALU]—with TCOEW, which is made up of workers fired from Amazon.
“I guess they figured it wasn’t gaining any traction,” Smalls told Status Coup about the anti-TCOEW signs being taken down. Smalls previously responded to Amazon’s messaging about TCOEW’s finances. “We used all donations to organize against them all year they seem to have forgot that,” he told Status Coup.
As Amazon took down a significant amount of its union-busting signage, workers also received a text message and email highlighting what the company presented as its strong benefits package workers receive on day one.
As Status Coup previously reported, Amazon—fresh off its allegedly illegal union-busting campaign in Bessemer Alabama—has aggressively targeted organizing efforts by current and former Staten Island workers stationed daily outside the warehouse near a busy bus stop that traffics Amazon workers coming and going from work.
After a May 4th barbecue in which ALU union organizers were able to attract hundreds of workers to, Amazon put up a chain-link fence—with Beware of Dog and Private Property signs sprawling across—around the bus stop and tent where union organizers are stationed daily attempting to talk to workers and get them to sign union cards.
The fence forced the ALU organizers to move further away from the high-trafficked bus stop. Still, ALU organizers say they’ve already gotten hundreds of workers to sign union cards.
Inside the warehouse, Amazon had also put up a barrage of anti-union signs near work stations, in break rooms, bathrooms, and TV’s around the warehouse.
“We have been bombarded with misinformation and lies for the past month in the bathrooms, break rooms, at the entrance,” Amazon JFK8 Staten Island worker Natalie Monarrez told Status Coup outside the warehouse as ALU workers attempted to hand out union cards to workers coming in and out of their shifts.
Some of the signs below:
In addition to the anti-union messaging bombarding workers, Amazon also has sent consultants into the warehouse—presenting themselves as “Amazon auditors”—to pull workers aside and offer negative talking points about the union organizers and forming a union (the same consultants were used by Amazon on-the-ground in Bessemer Alabama).
Amazon’s latest union-busting campaign in New York continues the company’s trend of not honoring a settlement it struck with federal regulators that it would not threaten or intimidate workers trying to unionize following the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers’ complaining that the company was using those tactics to stop a unionizing push in Virginia.
The company’s union-busting happens at the same time CEO Jeff Bezos, who announced he is stepping down from his position toward the end of the year, told shareholders “it’s clear to me that we need a better vision for how we create value for employees — a vision for their success.”
As of now, it looks like Amazon will be working hard to make sure these Staten Island workers attempting to unionize find no success.