Philadelphia Protest at Amazon's union-busting law firm Morgan & Lewis in solidarity with Alabama Amazon Workers on this national day of action. Photo credit: Joe Piette

Amazon workers fight to become unionized

Amazon employees continue to press forward in efforts toward union representation, as company pressures them to stop. 

Updated March 12, 2021

Ark Republic mis-reported information on a virtual strike launched by Amazaon workers. We reported that they formed a virtural picket line from March 7 to March 13. As well, they asked their supporters to join a week-long boycott.

In a statement from The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union spokesperson, Chelsea Connor, she said, “The union has not called for nor endorses a boycott at Amazon.”     

Currently, employees at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Bessemer, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama, are voting on whether they can organize with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). Voting for the largely African American staff started on Feb. 8. It ends, March 29. If the vote succeeds, it will be the first employees of Amazon to join a union. But the path to union representation has been hard fought.

| Read: Call center workers organize to join unions, demand better safety precautions as essential workers

Workers throughout the Amazon company have demonstrated for union representation, better pay and improved working conditions. In  December 14, 2018, around 200 Amazon workers in Shakopee, Minnesota, who were mostly of East African descent, protested outside their workplace against working conditions such as workers being tracked by computer and required to work at a high rate of speed, such as scanning something every 7 seconds, and the required speed is increased over time. People of East African descent make up 30-60% of the workforce at this location. Photo credit: Fibonacci Blue

As the country watches Alabama, people still are encouraging a boycott of Amazon. For over two decades, Amazon has worked hard to prevent union organization within its company. Now, with over 500,000 warehouse workers, and 1.1 million employees total around the world, the Bessemer fulfillment center of 5,800 laborers want better representation. If workers gain union representation, labor experts predict a rolling wave of the same efforts in Amazon and in other companies that have stopped previous efforts. In turn, unions are positioned to regain strength in US labor.

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