On Sunday, March 14, 2021, Tempest hosted a successful meeting entitled “National Amazon Solidarity” to build support both for the RWDSU organizing campaign in Bessemer, Alabama, and for the broader movement to strengthen workers' power and organization against one of the most powerful corporations in the world. We present below a video of the event, and excerpts of the varied and powerful statements of support (full statements can be heard in the video). We look forward to building on this solidarity effort, both in Bessemer and beyond, win or lose this battle.
Excerpted Solidarity Statement from:
Every worker deserves a union!
Workers of the world must unite to support this struggle of the Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama. This is a historic moment! The predominantly Black worker- led BAmazon Union Drive is fighting for a union against one of the largest transnational corporations in the world! The #BAmazon workers are changing the labor movement. Every worker deserves a union. The Adjunct Project stands in solidarity with the #BAmazon workers and their struggle for a union, and their fight against union- busting Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and Morgan & Lewis Law Firm.
DSA Santa Cruz stands in enthusiastic solidarity with the workers at Amazon who are voting to form a Union! We believe that the road to a more equitable and just society can only come through the greater self-organization of the working class and we see the organization of Amazon’s Bessemer facility as an important step in this process. In the interconnected world of contemporary capitalism, the logistics sector–warehouses, shipping etc–takes on a key strategic importance and we see the organization of workers in this part of our economy as crucial to building up the power of the working class as a whole. We hope that the efforts of our comrades in Bessemer will be a bellwether for future organizing drives at other Amazon facilities and across the sector more broadly.
Solidarity to the Amazon workers! Your fight is our fight!
As educators in a female dominated profession, we are inspired by this predominantly Black woman-led union drive. While the unionization rate in Alabama of 8% is below the national rate of 10.8%, we know there is a rich, but not well known, history of union organizing in Alabama in the coal and iron ore industries. The role of Black labor leaders in the civil rights movement in the 50’s and 60’s add to the importance of why standing in solidarity with these workers is essential at this time.
Just like there was a connection between labor organizing and the civil rights movement back then, today we see the obvious parallel with the reemergence of the Black Lives Matter movement in the streets after the police murder of George Floyd last year with the fact these Alabama Amazon workers and their BAmazon Workers Union drive are leading arguably the most important union organizing drive in the country right now.
New Politics stands in solidarity with the Amazon workers trying to unionize in Alabama. In our long history as an independent political magazine we have seen that democracy and social progress have only been achieved when workers organize. This fight is our fight.
The Rank and File Action caucus of the UC Student-Workers Union (UAW-2865) at the University of California
We also recognize the urgent benefits that unionization will have for women workers and workers of color. Amazon reaps enormous profits by exploiting workers, hitting the most disadvantaged workers the hardest. An estimated 85% of the workers at the Bessemer Amazon facility are Black, and many Black women workers have lead unionization efforts so far because they feel the effects of workplace exploitation most acutely. Unionizing would give workers higher wages, better protections against COVID-19 and other workplace health and safety issues, more job security, and adequate benefits—a crucial win for all workers, especially those most marginalized.
Poem by Bruce Jackson
Is it time yet?
We’ve been apart for so long, I don’t remember what “we” looks like.
Weren’t we the ones who created a forty hour work week.
Didn’t we create the weekend.
Didn’t we create time off.
Isn’t that our time?
Weren’t we the ones who decided children should be in school.
Not bleeding under a fresh coat of soot drilled loose from a black hole deep in a coal mine.
Not using their tiny fingers to place that dingus
into that thingamajig
to make that whatchmacallit
look more expensive on that thing we don’t need.
Didn’t we re-invent childhood.
That time for play.
Didn’t we create that time.
During that last time we were together.
Isn’t it time we created.
Is it time yet?
Isn’t that what we’re asking for now.
As Amazon takes and takes leaving our bodies and our dignity broken by waste and greed.
Isn’t it time we’re asking for.
Time to breathe.
Time to rest.
Time to take a moment to make a moment.
Time to see ourselves breathing.
To see ourselves living,
to see ourselves growing.
Look at us.
Don’t we look beautiful together.
Taking control of our time.
Making time pass as we’ve shaped it.
Shaping our future together.
Creating a new “we.” and its time.
This is union.
We are stronger together.
We create more beautifully together.
This is our time.
We will create together.
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