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Morning Spew

It’s Friday, and New York City Is a Union Town

Good news for the Amazon Labor Union, Mayor Eric Adams continues to blame teenager Tamani Crum for being decked by a cop, and more of what we're reading.

9:12 AM EDT on September 2, 2022

A close-up of three ice cream cones.

(Mark Cruz/Unsplash)

It’s almost Labor Day weekend, and while Hell Gate refuses on principle to acknowledge any worker’s holiday except for May Day, there’s some good news for people in our fair city who love unions. According to a recent report, New Yorkers are joining private-sector unions “at nearly twice the rate as in the next most active city, Seattle, and at five times the rate as in San Francisco or Los Angeles.” 

The push to unionize architecture firms in New York City notched its first win recently, but much of the growth in union membership is thanks to the unionization drive at Amazon’s Staten Island warehouse JFK8. And on Thursday, the Amazon Labor Union came one step closer to being certified, after a National Labor Relations Board official recommended that Amazon’s efforts to overturn the successful union drive be denied. 

Notably, Amazon had objected to the ALU giving out free weed. The NLRB’s Lisa Dunn shut down that argument. Via the New York Times

Similarly, Amazon accused the union of disrupting and shutting down its anti-union meetings and of giving workers marijuana in exchange for their votes. The hearing officer concluded that neither action had interfered with the election.

Given the volume of anti-union material at the warehouse, the hearing officer wrote, Amazon had not had a problem communicating its message despite some disruptions to its meetings.

As for the marijuana, the report concluded that the union had distributed it to workers, but it said Amazon “failed to establish” that the union “gave away marijuana to employees ‘in return for their support in the election.’”

Blaze it!

And remember Austin Locke, the barista at a Starbucks in Astoria who was fired after his store successfully unionized? The City’s Department of Consumer and Worker Protection has now filed a complaint on his behalf. More, via the Daily News:

After an independent investigation of Locke’s accusations, the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection charged in its complaint that it concluded his firing violated the city’s Fair Workweek Law, which bars fast food and chain eateries from canning workers without “just cause,” such as an act of on-the-job misconduct or a legitimate economic reason. Locke’s action marks the first litigation the city has pursued under the law since it took effect in July 2021.

The complaint asks that a judge order Starbucks to reinstate Locke and issue him back pay for lost work as well as civil penalties.

Here’s what else we’re reading this morning:

    • Eric Adams continues to defend NYPD Detective Kendo Kinsey, who slugged teenager Tamani Crum in her face earlier this week as Kinsey and other cops were attempting to arrest a man they claimed was wanted in an attempted murder. On Thursday, Adams praised the officers for not shooting and killing anyone. “Those officers showed great restraint. They didn’t discharge their weapons,” he said. Adams also blamed Crum for being punched by Kinsey: “The young lady came, smacked a police officer. The police officer responded.”
    • Thomas Webster, the retired NYPD officer who attacked other cops during the January 6 insurrection, was sentenced to 10 years in prison
    • A current NYC cop who is, as the CITY notes, the “lone NYPD officer criminally charged in connection with use of force during the 2020 George Floyd protests,” has gone through conflict resolution training and will now have his charges dismissed
    • Despite legalization, ACS is still citing a parent’s marijuana use as a reason to separate children from their families, according to an investigation by Gothamist
    • City employees continue to flee their jobs over the mayor’s return to office mandate. Some agencies are facing staff vacancies approaching 25 percent, according to the Independent Budget Office, raising quite a few questions about how exactly the City will “get stuff done.”
    • I too would file a lawsuit after I bought a $19 million penthouse in Tribeca only to subsequently find out to my horror that the building only has a part-time doorman. 
    • I reject this—clearly the best starting word for Wordle is STARE. 
    • Some monkeypox vaccine updates: 
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