Bernie Sanders, AOC attend rally at Staten Island Amazon facility ahead of union vote

STATEN ISLAND (WABC) -- Workers at another Amazon factory on Staten Island will vote on whether or not to join the newly formed Amazon Labor Union this week.

"I am definitely going to vote yes because they had the chance to get it together," Amazon employee Pranama Jayatissa said. "The rich get richer the poor people work harder and harder and harder."

Organizers say over 1,000 employees at the Amazon LDJ5 facility on Staten Island are supporting the move to join the ALU.

And they are determined to get the rights they feel they deserve.

"Amazon has 150 percent turnover ratio, that's a fact," union organizer and Amazon employee Derrick Palmer said. "So workers are having a tough time keeping their job."

Earlier this month, 8,000 Amazon employees at the JFK-8 facility became the first in the nation to be unionized despite a heavy lobbying effort by the company.

Employees in the ALU are negotiating an increase in wages from $18.25 to $30 and longer breaks among other things.

"Not having the sick time, that we desperately needed during COVID, that would've helped out a lot," Palmer said. "The time off option, paid time."

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The employees held a rally on Sunday prior to the vote this week and support came all the way from Washington.

New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders showed up to encourage workers to continue their fight against the tech company.

"If you're going to do business out here in New York you got to treat our people right," Ocasio-Cortez said.

Sanders met with several Amazon workers at the rally.

"What this whole thing is about is working people standing up," Sanders said.

Workers from more than 100 Amazon facilities have contacted the ALU to be a part of it and union organizers say the focus is simple: one building at a time.

"I think we are on a path to victory now, I feel confident that we have a good chance of winning this one," union organizer and Amazon employee Madeline Wesley said.

The National Labor Relations Board will oversee the voting that begins Monday and will run through Friday. Votes will be counted on May 2.

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