Democratic lawmakers show solidarity for Amazon union vote in Alabama: ‘We stand with you’

Rally organized by Workers Meeting In opposition to Racism in enhance of Amazon workers of warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama rights to unionize at Union Sq. across of Total Meals Market owned by Amazon.

Lev Radin | LightRocket | Getty Photos

A neighborhood of Democratic participants of Congress traveled to an Amazon warehouse in Alabama on Friday to existing enhance for workers who are in the midst of a closely watched union vote.

Among the lawmakers who visited the Amazon facility in Bessemer, Alabama, salvage been Reps. Andy Levin of Michigan, Jamaal Bowman of Unique York, Cori Bush of Missouri, Terri Sewell of Alabama and Nikema Williams of Georgia. Lawmakers met with about a workers from the facility, identified as BHM1, earlier than heading over to the warehouse.

“I need Amazon workers across the country to hear because attempt and be doing the same thing on your private dwelling of commercial,” Bowman acknowledged Friday at a press briefing originate air of RWDSU Mid-South Council’s union hall in Birmingham, Alabama. “And we’re no longer stopping with Amazon. That is Lyft, right here’s Uber, right here’s Walmart, right here’s Tesla — the entire companies across this country that continue to be abusive and offer awful work stipulations for workers, we stand with you.”

On the clicking briefing, Bowman acknowledged the union campaign in Alabama demonstrates the must put better employee protections in space at Amazon and other companies in the U.S. He described the working ambiance at Amazon as a “culture of abuse” and surveillance.

“If workers earn out of line, they fetch some compose of a demerit and whereas you glean ample demerits, you then may perchance perchance perchance effectively be fired from your job,” Bowman acknowledged. “Are we coping with machines or widgets, or are we coping with human beings?”

Earlier this month, shut to 6,000 workers at the Bessmer facility started voting by mail on whether to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Retailer Union, kicking off the first considerable unionization effort interior the firm since 2014. Final November, workers at the Alabama facility notified the NLRB of their plans to retain a vote on whether to be represented by the RWDSU.

The lawmakers’ existing of enhance comes merely about a days after President Joe Biden on Sunday expressed cohesion with the Amazon workers attempting to unionize the Bessemer facility telling them to “compose your inform heard.” Biden didn’t name Amazon particularly, but he made reference to “workers in Alabama.”

A entire lot of workers from the Bessemer Amazon facility additionally attended the briefing. Kevin Jackson, a BHM1 employee, acknowledged the union campaign is ready guaranteeing Amazon workers salvage “a space at the table love all americans else.”

“We’re right here to tell that we’re no longer going to be intimidated by anybody looking out to tell they’re going to fireplace us, attributable to what we need,” Jackson acknowledged.

Amazon employee Kevin Jackson speaks on the steps of the RWDSU Mid-South headquarters earlier than a tour of a congressional delegation to a nearby Amazon plant to existing their enhance for workers who will vote on whether to unionize, in Birmingham, Alabama, March 5, 2021.

Dustin Chambers | Reuters

Amazon has previously acknowledged it respects workers’ correct to join a union, but additionally that its workers don’t need a union to come wait on between them and the firm. Amazon has made its space on the union campaign particular to workers at the Bessemer facility, by maintaining necessary meetings pointing out the case in opposition to unionizing and constructing a internet self-discipline urging workers to “stay it with out dues.”

In an announcement, Amazon spokesperson Heather Knox encouraged the lawmakers to consult with with one of the firm’s success facilities to peek the working stipulations there.

“We hope these participants of Congress will employ this same quantity of energy on elevating the minimal wage to $15 per hour — as Amazon did for all of our workers in 2018,” Knox acknowledged in an announcement. “We’re proud to pay extra than double the federal minimal wage, whereas additionally providing entire advantages, paid atomize day, and short- and prolonged-term career convey — all in a accurate and recent work ambiance.”

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