Our Time Press

Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) Speaks

United Effort: A Congressional delegation met Friday, March 5 stood strong in front of the RWDSU office in Birmingham, Ala. in support of Amazon workers unionization efforts at the Bessemer facility known as BHM1. The lawmakers included, left to right: Rep. Cori Bush of Missouri, Andy Levin of Michigan Bessemer, Terri Sewell of Alabama, Jamaal Bowman of New York, and Nikema Williams of Georgia. Bessemer is the most populous city in the state and majority African American. Earlier this month, close to 6,000 workers at the Bessemer facility began voting by mail on whether to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), kicking off the first major unionization effort within the company since 2014. Last November, workers at the Alabama facility notified the National Labor Relations Board of their plans to hold a vote this month on whether to be represented by the RWDSU. That vote will be counted by March 30.

Labor leaders and lawmakers are calling this one of the most important union elections in the history of the United States.
Jamaal Bowman at a press briefing outside of the RWDSU Mid-South Council’s union hall in Birmingham, Alabama, March 5, said: “I want Amazon workers across the country to pay attention because you should be doing the same thing in your workplace.
“And we’re not stopping with Amazon. This is Lyft, this is Uber, this is Walmart, this is Tesla — all the companies across this country that continue to be abusive and provide terrible work conditions for workers, we stand with you.”
He said the union campaign in Alabama demonstrates the need to put better worker protections in place at Amazon and other companies in the U.S. He described the working environment at Amazon as a “culture of abuse” and surveillance.
“If workers get out of line, they receive some form of a demerit and if you accumulate enough demerits, then you are fired from your job,” Bowman said. “Are we dealing with machines or widgets, or are we dealing with human beings?”
Several workers from the Bessemer Amazon facility also attended the briefing. Kevin Jackson, a BHM1 employee, said the union campaign is about ensuring Amazon workers have “a place at the table like everyone else.”
“We’re here to say that we’re not going to be intimidated by anyone trying to say they’re going to fire us, due to what we want,” Jackson said.