Bernie Sanders Heading To New York City To Back Amazon Union

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) plans to visit Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island, New York, on Sunday, in a show of support for the workers’ unionization drive.

Christian Smalls, president of the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), an independent union that spearheaded the first successful unionization of an Amazon facility earlier this month, announced the visit Wednesday on Twitter.

A spokesperson for Sanders did not have additional details about the nature of Sanders’ visit or the exact timing.

Sanders has long been one of Congress’ most outspoken supporters of organized labor. He has been vocal in the press and on social media in support of Amazon workers’ efforts to form a union.

Sen. Bernie Sanders plans to visit Amazon warehouse workers and union activists the day before voting on unionization begins at a second facility in Staten Island, New York.

Paul Chinn/Associated Press

After the National Labor Relations Board certified the ALU’s unionization vote on April 1, Sanders congratulated the workers on their “extraordinary victory.”

“I believe it’s going to be a shot in the arm for this country’s labor movement,” he tweeted.

Sanders subsequently hosted a video forum on April 11 for Amazon workers active in the ALU.

The ALU won its first victory without the resources of a national union or major attention from national politicians. Some observers credit the union’s under-the-radar approach for its success.

But the ALU evidently believes it stands to benefit from Sanders’ help. His visit will fall a day before the start of a vote on whether to unionize at a second Amazon facility on the same campus as the larger warehouse, JFK8, where Smalls, an ex-employee, led the winning union drive. Workers at the second, smaller facility, LDJ5, are due to cast votes from April 25 through April 29.

Amazon has objected to the National Labor Relations Board’s certification of the unionization at JFK8, claiming that the ALU threatened workers. The retailer has until this Friday to demonstrate evidence of its allegations to the labor board.

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