Staten Island employees recently made history by becoming the first Amazon employees to unionize.
One of the union organizers, Connor Spence, called out Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., for staying “radio silent” as workers fought to establish their own union.
Workers at the Staten Island facility became the corporation’s first of its kind in the Amazon corporation’s decades-long history when they voted to unionize.
When asked by progressive outlet Status Coup News why Democratic lawmakers, especially those representing New York, were largely silent about unionizing, Spence said, “I think it’s just that our campaign and our model was such a long shot. They saw it as risky to even associate with us.
“Because at the end of the day, they are politicians as much as they, you know, say that they’re on the side of the workers, they have to prioritize getting reelected and all that stuff.”
Spence shrugged off Rep. Ocasio-Cortez’s cancellation of an appearance she was scheduled to make at a pro-union rally in August.
Spence said the representative had previously committed to attend but that he was more bothered by how she “went radio silent for six months after that and didn’t show a word for us until it was clear that we were gonna win.”
Organizer stresses union is ‘apolitical’
The union organizer stressed that “we are an apolitical union” and that they “don’t want to be reliant on political outsiders.”
However, he explained he believes it “would have helped” by benefiting the workers’ effort with more donations and publicity.
Spence continued, “At the end of the day, we won without them, and we can continue to achieve big victories without them. You know, it would have been helpful to have that support early on. It’s unfair for them to stand at the finish line now and say that they support us because we needed the support initially. We don’t need it now.”
Ocasio-Cortez cited “security concerns” and “scheduling conflicts” and alluded to “threats” against her life and safety as reasons for canceling her visit.
However, that did not silence her critics. Commentator Krystal Ball called out Ocasio-Cortez for tweeting her solidarity for the union effort after she canceled her appearance at the pro-union rally.
“With respect, there’s no security concerns with sending out support to @amazonlabor trying to win the first unionized Amazon to 13 million followers. Your voice and organizing power makes a difference,” Ball tweeted.
Additionally, Ball questioned Ocasio-Cortez’s “fear” for her life as she attended the glitzy Met Gala only a few weeks later. “No security concerns at the met gala,” tweeted Ball with a puzzled emoji.