LCIP Statement in Solidarity With Amazon Warehouse Workers in their Efforts to Unionize

Amazon workers and community allies demonstrate during a protest organized by New York Communities for Change and Make the Road New York in front of the Jeff Bezos’ Manhattan residence in New York on December 2, 2020. (Photo by Kena Betancur / AFP)

By the Continuations Committee of Labor and Community for an Independent Party (LCIP)

March 8, 2021

Warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama are organizing a union amid mounting pressure and anti-union tactics levied against them by the mammoth e-commerce corporation known as Amazon. Just the name Amazon conjures up “nuff said” responses in understanding the uphill battle of the Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer. The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) in Alabama has been successful in organizing in the South and in Alabama in particular. But this is the first time they have faced off against a behemoth like Amazon.

Labor and Community for an Independent Party (LCIP) stands in solidarity with Amazon warehouse workers in their movement to unionize. All workers should have a right to form a union without being subject to vicious practices of preemptive union-busting, threats and intimidation. The LCIP Continuations Committee unequivocally condemns the anti-union tactics that are being mounted by Amazon against the RWDSU organizers and the union organizing efforts of Amazon warehouse workers in general!

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BACKGROUND STATEMENT

by Southern Workers Assembly

Solidarity with Bessemer, Alabama, Amazon Workers! A Major Campaign to Organize Labor in the South!

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. The Southern Workers Assembly (SWA), an Organize the South Network formed in 2012, stands in solidarity with this important worker’s struggle. National solidarity with organizing in the South needs to be a permanent part of labor’s Southern strategy.

Black workers make up more than 70% of the approximately 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer. This campaign offers the opportunity of forging rank-n-file worker unity against the systemic racism that is part of the history of Black oppression in the South and that has been used to divide workers and their communities.

In November 2020, eight months after officially opening the Bessemer Amazon warehouse in March, the workers led by the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Workers Union (RWDSU), petitioned the labor board to hold a union vote. This was a shock not only to Amazon, but for corporate America, which has historically viewed the South as a kind of domestic colony with systemic racism, weak labor and environmental laws, voter suppression, and a divided working-class. This is why major U.S. and international companies have relocated industries to the South.

These workers have launched a history-changing organizing campaign against one of the biggest and most powerful transnational corporations in the world, and against its super rich union busting owner, Jeff Bezos. These workers are standing up to the racist and anti-labor laws that suppress worker rights across the South, where union density is low, and a region with the largest concentration of anti-labor right-to-work laws weakening and denying workers collective bargaining rights.

High-paid union-busters and some governmental officials have united to lie and try and intimidate Bessemer Amazon workers to defeat the union vote. This should point out to Bessemer workers and workers across Alabama that this campaign has the potential of making economic, political, and social changes favorable for the working class. This organized power is needed in the struggle for worker protections against the COVID-19 pandemic and for a system of Medicare for All.

Local unions, worker organizations, and labor activists need to form Worker Assemblies that help to build rank-n-file organizing and solidarity infrastructures for a social movement to organize labor in the South. The SWA Workers Schools can provide training in building these infrastructures.

Onwards to a union victory in Bessemer, and to Organize the South!

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