ASM YUH-LINE NIOU, ILLEGALLY FIRED STATEN ISLAND AMAZON WORKERS, ACTIVISTS PROTEST CORPORATE GREED, RECORD PRICE GOUGING IN NYC
NYS ASSEMBLYMEMBER YUH-LINE NIOU, ILLEGALLY FIRED STATEN ISLAND AMAZON WORKERS, ACTIVISTS PROTEST CORPORATE GREED, RECORD PRICE GOUGING IN NYC
National Corporate Greed Day of Action shines a light on corporations that exploit workers and hike prices to make record profits
June 10, 2022
New York, NY – On Friday, NYS Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou, Alicia Johnson – an illegally fired Staten Island Amazon worker, Mat Cusick – an Amazon Labor Union (ALU) worker and organizer unjustly fired in retaliation by Amazon after ALU’s historic victory at its Staten Island warehouse – Maritza Silva-Farrell, Executive Director at ALIGN and a lead partner for Unrig Our Economy NYC, and other invited local officials, and activists gathered in the financial district for a Corporate Greed Day of Action. Click on the links to access still images and the full video of the press conference.
Participants demanded that greedy corporations be held accountable for exploiting workers and price-gouging New Yorkers under the guise of inflation while lavishing CEOs with excessive compensation and rewarding shareholders with massive buybacks.
The evidence hides in plain sight as corporate executives excitedly tell their investors, ‘what we are very good at is pricing’ – code for jacking up prices on consumers – and brag about enjoying the highest profit margins in 70 years.
Attendees were joined by ‘Mr. Rigs,’ a 10-foot inflatable ‘corporate fat cat’ protecting his money the way Wall Street rewards companies that hoard profits at the expense of average Americans. June 10 is also when the May Consumer Price Index (CPI) report comes out and shows rising rents, gas, and food push inflation to record highs.
NYS Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou said, “What the latest Consumer Price Index and all the evidence suggest to me is that we’re not so much having an inflation problem. We’re having a corporate greed problem. Across the board, greedy corporations are using inflation as an excuse to price-gouge New Yorkers, make astronomical profits, and reward Wall Street investors. But that money is not going back into the economy. It’s making CEOs and wealthy corporate shareholders richer, leaving working families who drive the economy without enough money to make ends meet.”
Maritza Silva-Farrell, a lead partner for Unrig Our Economy NYC and the Executive Director at ALIGN, said, “It is no coincidence that mega-corporations are making record profits; at the same time, our communities struggle to afford everyday products, work in poor conditions for low wages, and walk down main streets once filled with our favorite mom-and-pop stores. The current shortage of baby formula is a perfect example of how monopolized markets are directly hurting our families.”
Added Silva-Farrell, who emceed the event” “Corporations have too much power as they boost their profits through consolidation while stifling competition for small businesses and lowering workplace standards. Today we’re calling out some of the most egregious offenders — like Amazon in Staten Island – for driving inflation in addition to dodging taxes and busting unions.”
As one of the most vocal Amazon Labor Union supporters, Alicia Johnson became a target of harassment and retaliatory firing from the JFK8 Fulfillment Center in Staten Island, NY. At the time of her termination on May 8th, Alicia was also locked in a struggle with Amazon HR to secure a workplace accommodation for her leg injury — which management refused to provide, in violation of the company’s stated policy and federal and state OSHA regulations.
Noted Johnson, “Amazon is a trillion-dollar company. It can afford to treat its employees like humans. But it chooses not to. Despite my medically documented leg injury, Amazon fired me in retaliation for telling employees to vote for a union.”
Mat Cusick, an ALU organizer and worker, unjustly fired in retaliation by Amazon after ALU’s historic victory at its JFK8 Staten Island warehouse, pointed out that Amazon posted profits of $8.1 billion dollars in just the first quarter of last year. “It is the workers who make Amazon’s excessive profits out of our labor,” Cusick said. “Amazon could have paid $10 an hour more to every employee in the U.S., and it still would’ve reaped huge profits of $3 billion in just three months. CEO Andy Jassy made over $212 million last year. Meanwhile, workers earn less in a week of work than what he receives in two minutes asleep in his bed—and we have to meet inhuman productivity quotas that make Amazon one of the most dangerous places to work in the country.”
Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine said, “New Yorkers are under enough financial strain coming out of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. They should not have to suffer through another round of unnecessary economic hardship by companies using inflation as a cover to hike prices and rake in record profits. We must take appropriate action now.”
Friday’s event is part of a national Corporate Greed Day of Action, which shines a light on corporations price gouging consumers and exploiting workers to make record profits and exposes politicians like Congresswoman Malliotakis who enable them.
Nanci Richards, Staten Islander, retired NYC public high school teacher, said, “My own Congresswoman, Nicole Malliotakis, has put corporate greed over her constituents. She has taken more than $120,000 from the oil and gas industry. She voted against Consumer Fuel Price Gouging Prevention Act. She complains that we are paying $5 a gallon but does nothing as a Congressional leader to change that. The proof is how she votes. She is protecting corporate greed over helping her constituents with the high cost of gas. She ignores the plight of workers, voting against the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO-Act). Her priorities are misplaced. Just this week, she voted against the Protecting Our Kids Act, legislation designed in part to help regulate interstate gun trafficking, a huge problem here in New York state. Once again, Malliotakis put the interests of the greedy gun lobby over the safety of her constituents.”
Whether it’s the high cost of gas, groceries, or prescription drugs, corporate greed has cost families across Staten Island and New York City dearly. Such disheartening news is only made worse by reports of corporations shattering records for surging profits and engaging in massive stock buybacks benefiting wealthy executives and shareholders. We need more folks in office who will fight for their constituents, not just wealthy CEOs, Wall Street bankers, and powerful corporations that fund their campaigns. Congresswoman Malliotakis has repeatedly turned her back on workers and cast her lot with the rich and most powerful corporations determined to keep the economy rigged against the middle class.
Click on the links to access still images and the full video of the press conference.
Unrig Our Economy NYC is a local campaign to fix the rules of our economy to make it work for working people. When the middle class does well, all of us do well — which is why we’re fighting on behalf of working Americans and holding greedy and the politicians who enable them accountable.