Amazon workers in New York say they’re being paid low wages

It’s a tense day for Amazon workers in Staten Island as union organizers continue their fight for better wages and benefits.

In a letter to the state Labor Department, Amazon said that all of its workers would get a raise this month and that it was working with the state to increase healthcare and child care benefits. The workers also want to be able to collectively bargain.

The company did not say, however, whether any of its employees on Staten Island would be unionized. A status update in November said that Amazon was negotiating the terms of employment “in a very sensitive environment, but which will benefit all its employees.”

“We want to help these employees realize their potential and we are happy to proceed in this important way,” Amazon said in that letter.

Representatives for Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the status of those negotiations.

The fight for better pay and healthcare has divided Amazon workers across the country, as union organizers focus their attention on the company’s workers in New York.

Amazon’s 29,000 workers in the Big Apple are being watched closely because the company is one of the most influential brands in the United States. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has been worth more than $100 billion, and his name and ambitions have become intertwined with the brand.

Union organizers have recently attempted to unionize Amazon workers in Virginia and Wisconsin. On Wednesday, they reported that they had the signatures of over 1,500 workers in the New York City area on their petition for a union vote at Amazon’s Staten Island fulfillment center.

Organizers started with 100 workers and added 11 more days ago, they said. The petition is being distributed around Staten Island by door-to-door canvassers.

“Anytime we have opportunities to unite with colleagues, we make sure to give it some thought,” one worker wrote on the petition.

“Amazon is fighting hard to send workers from its fulfillment centers all over the country to Staten Island where it has a large presence,” said Nick Verreos, the campaigns director for OUR Walmart, a union organization. “We need Amazon to start supporting the right to organize.”

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