Press release from Dante Strobino:
Workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama are waging a historic struggle to win the first union at an Amazon facility in the U.S. Local labor and civil rights activists are rallying to send our utmost solidarity with these courageous workers. On February 20, workers and community members in 43 cities across the U.S. are taking to the streets to say: ‘Victory to the BAmazon Union!’
Between February 8, and March 29, approximately 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama will begin voting by mail on whether to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale Department Store Workers Union (RWDSU). The harsh working conditions at Amazon warehouses, along with Amazon’s refusal to adopt measures that protect workers from COVID 19, have pushed Amazon and Whole Foods workers everywhere to step up organizing and fighting back.
These predominantly Black workers who have in recent months formed the BAmazon Workers Union, are on the cusp of launching a history-changing workers organization against one of the biggest and most powerful transnational corporations in the world, and its super rich union busting owner, Jeff Bezos. In addition, these workers are standing up to the racist, anti-union laws that suppress labor across the South.
The Southern Workers Assembly is organizing this National Day of Solidarity in recognition of significance of the Bessemer Amazon workers campaign to unionize because of its strategic importance as a major US and global corporation in the warehousing and product distribution chain; and to help build a solidarity network and infrastructure as part of a movement to organize the South. The South has always been the Achilles heel of the US labor movement with “right-to-work” for less anti-union laws and politicians.
North Carolina actions on February 20 include:
5:30pm – 6:30pm Rally and Leafleting
DRT4 Amazon Delivery Station, 394 Fanning Fields Rd, Mills River, NC 28759
4:30pm – 5:30pm Rally and Leafleting
RDU5 Amazon Fulfillment Center at 1805 TW Alexander Dr, Durham, NC 27703
5:15pm-6:30pm Rally and Leafleting
Amazon Distribution Center, 4851 Jones Sausage Road, Garner, NC 27529 (Meet near the North entrance at Calder St.)
4:00pm gather, 4:30pm rally, 5:00pm-6:00pm leafleting
Amazon Distribution Center, 10800 Old Dowd Rd, Charlotte, NC 2814
4:30pm – 5:30pm rally
GSO1 Amazon Fulfillment Center at 1656 Old Greensboro Rd, Kernersville, NC 27284
Quotes from Amazon workers and union activists:
Jennifer Bates Learning Ambassador at Amazon Fulfillment Center in Bessemer, AL:
“The [union busters] are coming in, stopping us from doing our jobs to basically ram information in our heads about why we shouldn’t have a union. Some of the younger workers are confused because Amazon told them in the meeting that if we get the union some of their benefits will be taken away. Which is not true.”
Josh Brewer, lead organizer of the #BAmazon Union Campaign with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union in Bessemer, AL:
“We were reached out to by a group of workers that had some concerns. Basically, there were some more generic concerns in the way of wages and benefits and treatment. But there were also some alarming concerns when we started talking about the ability to use the bathroom, when we started talking about being punished for having COVID, not having their COVID pay given to them. Management and human resources were simply disregarding their cries or their complaints.”
Michael Foster, poultry worker and RWDSU union member and organizer in Bessemer:
“Even when they go to the bathroom and use the door behind them they have something up there saying vote no against the union. These people are crying out for help.”
For more information about the National Day of Solidarity visit https://southernworker.org/amazon/