Luis Feliz Leon

Latino immigrant kitchen workers and a group of racially diverse women servers walked out at the Twin Peaks restaurant in Brentwood, Tennessee, on Saturday, January 14. They say their employer is serving up of a toxic brew of racism and sexism.

“We went on strike to fire a manager because he is mistreating my co-workers verbally and physically,” Juan Carlos Mendoza, a barback with six years at the restaurant, told the Spanish-language news channel Nashville Noticias. “The manager is a racist… and that’s why we raised our voices.”

In the Mexican border city of Piedras Negras, Coahuila, auto parts workers are throwing down yet again against their employer, Michigan-based VU Manufacturing, and its chosen union, the Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM).

Last August, VU workers voted to form an independent union, the Mexican Workers’ League (la Liga), defeating management’s effort to impose an employer-friendly union affiliated with the CTM.

Teamsters in Plympton, Massachusetts, won their strike at America's largest wholesale food distributor with an old-fashioned militant tactic: the mass picket line.

The Sysco strike broke out on October 1. At first there were 100 workers, each with a picket sign, walking a little circle in the driveway leading to the warehouse.

But in the early morning of Monday, October 17, a throng of fellow Teamsters swelled the crowd to 400. A dozen positioned their tractor-trailers athwart exits to block scabs from leaving and entering. Thirteen workers got arrested.

Amazon’s vast distribution network is staggering. There’s the invisible lacework of surveillance algorithms and artificial intelligence. There are the visible footprints: trucks, robots, hulking warehouses.

And then there are the workers. It takes more than a million people, most of them low-paid and grindingly exploited, to pick, sort, unload, ship, and deliver packages to customers’ doors within days of an order.

Amazon warehouses caught fire in New York and Alabama this past week, endangering hundreds of workers.

In the unionized Staten Island facility, workers marched on managers and staged a sit-down in protest over Amazon’s disregard for their safety—and the company lashed back with mass suspensions.

The HSV1 fulfillment center in Madison, a suburb of Huntsville in northern Alabama, caught fire Monday evening, October 3, for a second time in two weeks.

Three miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, auto parts workers in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, voted yesterday to join an independent union, defeating company attempts to usher in an employer-friendly, politically connected union.

The independent Mexican Workers’ League (la Liga Sindical Obrera Mexicana) won 186 votes, while a union with ties to the powerful Confederation of Mexican Workers (CTM) received 101.

Amazon Bites Back in Vote at Second New York Warehouse

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The Amazon Labor Union, after making history in April when it won the first-ever unionized Amazon warehouse, JFK8 on Staten Island, New York, was routed in May in a second election at LDJ5, another warehouse in the same complex.

Amazon waged a fierce union-busting campaign, and it worked. Out of 1,633 eligible voters, 998 cast ballots: 380 yes and 618 no. There were no challenged ballots, and two ballots were voided. The ALU’s lawyer, Seth Goldstein, has said the union will challenge the outcome.

The company has billed itself as the everything store. Now Amazon is the throw-everything-at-them union-buster—trying every trick in the playbook to throttle worker organizing at its Staten Island warehouses in New York City.

The union vote at a second warehouse, a neighboring sorting center known as LDJ5, is set to start April 25, so the company has turned its focus there.

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