Amazon workers hold union election in historic first 

6th April,2022

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Amazon workers in Staten Island have formed a union and held their historic first election, gaining the support of over 2,500 workers with many more branches of the company eager to sign on. 

Billionaire Jeff Bezos incited anger amongst his staff when he launched his own personal space programme on the back of the workers famous for poor conditions and pay.  Amazon staff spoke of not being allowed toilet breaks, extreme incidents of accidents and being expected to meet unrealistic KPIs, even while profits soared. Amazon has been called "a vast mechanism that hires and monitors, disciplines and fires".

The union was formed in April 2021 by Christian Smalls, a former Amazon employee who was fired after speaking out about unsafe working conditions. The first attempt at an election was thwarted by the giant coorporation, including sacking workers who signed up.   

The unions response was to file two election petitions for two of the facilities and then defeated Amazon in the first election at location JFK8.  The second election will be held at LDJ5, and a bargaining process will also commence. 

Eight immediate changes are being demanded by the union covering changes to policies on health and safety, pay, promotions, overtime, working conditions, transportation, time and union-bashing. 

Chris Smalls writes that Amazon could use a fraction of  the money the company has spent on fighting unionism on paying workers $30 an hour.   

"You make Amazon $638 million dollars a day! It’s time we get paid our fair share," he tells workers.  

With Covid-19 changing the face of the workforce in America, and opening the population's eyes to the way they are expected to work under slave like conditions while their employers are rich enough to go to space, it seems like times are a'changing. 

Boycotts of Amazon are regularly called including from the Ethical Consumer over tax avoidance, and unsafe working conditions.  Amazon has been linked to discrimination, over reliance on state funded emergency services without tax contributions, falsely labelling plastic products as biodegradable and child labour on top of their documented unsafe and exploitative employment conditions. 

4th April, 2022

Inuvialuit want rare kayak returned by Vatican

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CEO of Inuvulialut Regional Cooperation has asked for the Canadian government and the Vatican to help pay for the return of a rare kayak of Inuvulialut origin.  He wants to see the kayak on display and used to teach young people how to make one.  The request follows research by Gloria Bell from the McGill University who has been studying the collection of indigenous belongings held in the Vatican museum.  She says her research shows that many of the items were stolen by missionaries from communities, as well as handcrafted by indigenous people on request from the Vatican.  Other rare items held by the Vatican include a human face mask from Haida Gwaii and a model of a dog sled constructed  out of walrus ivory an sealskin. 

Alberta, Canada reinstates policy to protect the Rocky Mountains from coal mining

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A decades old policy protecting parts of the Rockies from coal development has been reinstated after it was cancelled two years ago. The ministerial order will take effect immediately and follows months of consultation in the region. Four projects will proceed, though any new proposals such as the Grassy Mountain coal project are unlikely to meet with approval. Current coal activity is allowed to continue.

Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society spokesperson Katie Morrison said the even though the move was a big step forward, she believed that the decision has been kicked down the road to the land use planning process.

"But within that land use planning process, the question of whether coal can or can't go forward in that landscape will be reopened for discussion again," she said.