News & Commentary

February 17, 2022

Anita Alem

Anita Alem is a student at Harvard Law School.

On Wednesday, the Amazon Labor Union announced that the Staten Island Amazon warehouse JFK8 will be holding its first union election from March 25 to March 30. As we reported yesterday, the vote will coincide with the vote counting process for the union election occurring in Bessemer, Alabama. The date and JFK8 location is significant, as it marks exactly two years since Christian Smalls organized a warehouse walkout to protest unsafe conditions as a result of COVID-19. Smalls, who was later fired in what he alleges was a retaliatory action for his whistleblowing, has since organized Amazon workers as the president of the Amazon Labor Union. Smalls tweeted to note the significance of the voting date, two years after the JFK8 walkout, and also shared what appears to be a text message from Amazon to JFK8 employees encouraging them to vote no in the election.

Internationally, Reuters reported that unionized workers of Samsung Electronics in South Korea appear to be threatening an unprecedented strike. Workers rallied at Samsung’s Seoul headquarters demanding benefits such as increased paid leave and health benefits. A union official noted the concerns over public outrage if workers were to strike, stating “We don’t want a strike at a chip line. If I said we want to stop a chip line that would make us into a public enemy.” The largest union has more than 4,500 workers and constitutes about 4% of Korea’s worker population.

Enjoy OnLabor’s fresh takes on the day’s labor news, right in your inbox.