The historic union drive in Alabama is heating up. Over 5,000 workers are to decide if the Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama , will be the first in the United States to unionize. Mail-in voting ends March 29. The small industrial city has a long history of labor, civil rights, and radical struggle. Now at the forefront of the labor movement once again, Bessemer could be the spark that ignites a wave of similar drives around the country.
On March 20, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union held a community rally in Birmingham with speakers from Black Lives Matter Birmingham and other local organizations. Before and after the event at the union hall, Party for Socialism and Liberation organizers initiated one last push to canvas the city of Bessemer with pro-union signs and flyers.
After over a month of outreach to the community, the organizers finished knocking on every door in the city of Bessemer. Now, Amazon workers driving to the fulfillment center will see a sign supporting the union on every block. The dozens of volunteers behind this achievement can testify to Bessemer’s overwhelming support of workers’ rights. Many in the community felt the need to share their enthusiasm.
“We need a union here!”
“I support the union because we face unfair labor practices and the situation in the Amazon warehouse–it could be better.”
“I am for unions. I wish the Amazon workers the best. I think unions are very important for employees’ salaries, healthcare, and continuous education–to be skilled and trained. For so long, we have been without fair treatment and the workers have no one to represent them–I am for the union.”
“Workers should be compensated properly for their work. I support the union. Workers should have power.“
“I support the social justice movement for Amazon workers. I believe the workers having better pay will help them be able to sustain their families and their livelihoods. I support this movement.”
“I am glad that Amazon workers are trying to get a union. But there are plenty more changes we need to make. Everything goes up: food, daycare, school, but workers’ [pay] is not brought up to where they can survive. [The bosses] want us where we are at. It don’t make no sense.”
“We need equal rights for all races.”
“Our community supports Amazon workers.”
“[Workers] deserve the proper insurance, pay, and everything. You go to work, you work hard, and if they can’t give y’all the money they are supposed to give y’all, that’s wrong. 100 percent.