March 24, 2023

Union supporters decided to send personal messages to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Starbucks interim CEO Howard Schultz. In honor of Labor Day, activists launched a battle to unite the company’s workers to executives’ homes in New York City.

The crowd gathered in front of the West 11th Street building in Manhattan, where Schultz lives, and then marched to Bezos’s penthouse on Fifth Avenue and 25th Street. Organizers also inflated a 12-foot balloon, dubbed “rat scabies,” in front of Bezos’ building, temporarily shutting down street traffic.

Pro-union protesters rally at Jeff Bezos and Howard Schultz's New York residence
Pro-union protesters gather near the home of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on Fifth Avenue in New York City on September 5, 2022. Protesters gathered at the Manhattan home of Bezos and Starbucks interim CEO Howard Schultz before a rally in Times Square.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images/Getty Images

Labor organizers from Bessemer, Alabama, marched with New Yorkers and delivered speeches encouraging workers to organize and demanding that Amazon and Starbucks stop what they say are union-busting tactics.Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse is the first to hold union elections, though workers voted against unions twice

“Billionaires have to go!” shouted Amazon union president Chris Smalls, who in Aprilsuccessful campaign Organizing an Amazon warehouse in New York City’s Staten Island — the retail giant’s first unionized factory. Wearing a black ALU shirt and holding a megaphone, Smalls led the parade to Times Square.

“Form your union, organize yourselves, and we’ll support you every step of the way,” Isaiah Thomas, organizer of the BAmazon Coalition, told marchers.

Pro-union protesters rally at Jeff Bezos and Howard Schultz's New York residence
ALU President Christian Smalls leads pro-union protesters chanting in Times Square in New York City on September 5, 2022. Members of the Amazon Union (ALU) and Amazon Workers joined Starbucks workers, community organizations, and pro-union protesters in Labor Day March demanding that Amazon and Starbucks recognize their union.

Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

More than 200 Starbucks stores have voted to unionize, but they have faced backlash from the company. Starbucks fired organizers and withheld benefits for locations that opted to unionize. The National Labor Relations Board recently forced the coffee chain to reinstate a fired organizer at a Tennessee store and is seeking compensation for all unionized workers.

Amazon is trying to overturn the results of an April union vote in Staten Island.labor council Deny the company’s objection But Amazon said on Friday it planned to appeal the denial. Both companies deny that their actions amounted to union sabotage.

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