top
San Francisco
San Francisco
Indybay
Indybay
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
Indybay
Regions
Indybay Regions North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area North Coast Central Valley North Bay East Bay South Bay San Francisco Peninsula Santa Cruz IMC - Independent Media Center for the Monterey Bay Area California United States International Americas Haiti Iraq Palestine Afghanistan
Topics
Newswire
Calendar
Features
From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: San Francisco | Labor & Workers
View events for the week of 2/20/2021
SF Solidarity Action: Victory To Bessemer Amazon Workers-Stop Bezos Union Busting
Date Saturday February 20
Time 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Event Type Class/Workshop
Organizer/AuthorUFCLP
Location Details
Whole Foods 24th St. Store
3950 24th St.
San Francisco
2/20/21 SF Solidarity Action: Victory To Bessemer Amazon Workers-Stop Bezos Union Busting
Rally & Speak Out at San Francisco 24th St. Whole Foods at 12 noon pm pst.

The Amazon corporation owned by Jeff Bezos is now engaged in a union busting effort to prevent the Amazon workers
in Bessemer, Alabama from voting for a union during a representation election. A national day of action
has been called on Februrary 20, 2021 to show solidarity and support for all Amazon and Whole Foods workers.
They have a right to a union without a massive effort to coerce them against the union.
Please join us.

Saturday February 20, 2021
Picketing from 10AM to 2PM PST at Whole Foods store & Rally at 12:00 PM noon

Whole Foods 24th St. Store
3950 24th St.
San Francisco

Initiated By
United Front Committee For Labor Party UFCLP
committeeforlaborparty [at] gmail.com
WorkWeek

National Day Of Action For Bessemer Amazon Workers
https://supportamazonworkers.org/feb20/...
Organizing Meeting Support Alabama Amazon Workers

https://supportamazonworkers.org/feb20/?fbclid=IwAR3xkY50iRbKaMnGx7cId43SiiJIrkxPNFAM-ls9D5eLrLJFC-9FiV6aly4
#UnionYes #OrganizeTheSouth
Amazon workers are exposing what's happening in Alabama.
https://twitter.com/MorePerfectUS/status/1357796064670212098
Alabama Amazon Organizers & Workers Speak Out On The Valley Labor Report
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-F7kIhQP9UY&feature=youtu.be

February 20: National Day of Solidarity with Alabama Amazon Workers building BAmazonUnion
Southern Workers Assembly
February 9 at 4:12 PM ·
February 20: National Day of Solidarity with Alabama Amazon Workers building BAmazonUnion with Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU)!
Find an action near you at southernworker.org/amazon, or email info [at] southernworker.org to list one. Now is the time to mobilize solidarity with this heroic struggle! #UnionYes #OrganizeTheSouth


Stop Bezos Union Busting! February 20: National Day of Solidarity With Alabama Amazon Workers
https://supportamazonworkers.org/feb20/?fbclid=IwAR0oDN7AR_AGi0D8z6iynm1xKilW93EmgR3gs8t6rvCXSd3GxDJSntUbVoo

Between Feb 8, and March 29, approximately 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama will begin voting by mail on whether to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale Department Store Workers Union (RWDSU). The harsh working conditions at Amazon warehouses, along with Amazon’s refusal to adopt measures that protect workers from COVID 19, have pushed Amazon and Whole Foods workers every- where to step up organizing and fighting back.
These predominantly Black workers who have in recent months formed the BAmazon Workers Union, are on the cusp of launching a history-changing workers organization against one of the biggest and most powerful transnational corporations in the world, and its super rich union busting owner, Jeff Bezos. In addition, these workers are standing up to the racist, anti-union laws that suppress labor across the South.
Solidarity from every corner of the labor and progressive movements is needed now to show the workers in Bessemer that they are not alone, that all eyes are on the historic struggle that they are leading. This is especially needed as Amazon ramps up their union-busting tactics.
The Southern Workers Assembly has issued a call for a National Day of Solidarity with Alabama Amazon Workers on Saturday, February 20. Actions are being planned across the South and the U.S. on that day at Amazon facilities (warehouses, distribution centers, Whole Foods, etc.).
See below for an initial listing of actions planned. If you would like to organize an action in your area, please use this form to submit details of what you are planning.
Powerful Amazon Organizing Call Builds Towards February 20 Day of Action

Organizing Meeting Support Alabama Amazon Workers



https://www.facebook.com/watch/live/?v=461776385192382&ref=watch_permalink


Support Amazon Workers banner
Powerful Organizing Call Builds Towards February 20 Day of Action
Many thanks to all of you who joined the incredibly powerful organizing call last night to send solidarity to Bessemer, Alabama Amazon workers organizing their union and to build momentum leading into the National Day of Action set for February 20. The day of action was initiated by the Southern Workers Assembly, and has quickly grown to over 2 dozen (and counting!) actions in many different states.

Several hundred people from coast to coast (along with others from countries around the world) joined the call to hear from the frontlines of the struggle in Bessemer and to share reports and updates on actions they are planning on February 20.

Special thanks to Big Mike & Josh Brewer (BAmazon Union/RWDSU), Chris Smalls (former Amazon worker, Congress of Essential Workers), and the many other workers, labor and community activists who participated in the meeting.

If you weren't able to attend, you can watch a full recording of the meeting here.

With only a week to go until February 20, there's no time to waste to mobilize solidarity for the Bessemer Amazon workers. Here are some things you can do today:

Send info on actions planned in your area - Planning a solidarity action on February 20 and don't see it listed below? Send in details as soon as possible via this form so we can list it on the website and help spread the word.
Interested in planning an action but not sure what to do? - Reach out to info [at] supportamazonworkers.org.
Find & submit resources - We've posted social media graphics, leaflets, and other materials to the website (and plan to add more in the coming days, so check back often!) for you to use before and during February 20. If you have other graphics, placards, artwork, or other materials to share, please submit them to info [at] supportamazonworkers.org so they can be posted on the site.
Onwards to build for the National Day of Solidarity on February 20!

In solidarity,

Support Alabama Amazon Workers campaign
February 20 National Day of Solidarity
Current listing of actions planned for February 20 below. Don't see an action you're planning listed? Send in your info using this form. And be sure to check the website for the most up to date information on planned demonstrations: https://supportamazonworkers.org/feb20

Meet Amazon's Unionbusters
Amazon hired a former Teamster official to break the union in Alabama
https://ucommblog.com/.../meet-amazons-unionbusters...
by Kris LaGrange on
Feb 10, 2021
FacebookTwitterLinkedInemail
On February 8th a historic election at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama started. Due to COVID-19, the election is being held by mail and votes are being accepted until the end of March. UCOMM has previously reported on union-busting efforts at the warehouse and now The Intercept is shining new light on who the union busters are.
According to a report from The Intercept, Amazon has contracted with union-buster Russell Brown to prevent the Alabama warehouse from going union. Brown is being paid $3,200 a day, plus expenses, for his evil work.
Brown heads RWP Labor, which according to their website is one of the nation’s leading labor experts in working with companies to maintain a union-free workplace. Brown also serves as the President of the Center for Independent Employees, a Koch-brothers backed think tank that lobbies to weaken the political power of unions. They received $18,000 from the anti-union Koch Brothers in 2017
RWP Labor also includes a traitor to the union ranks in Rebecca Smith, who claims to have worked for 20 years in the labor movement including working for the Teamsters as the Executive Director of Training for Southern Nevada. Since leaving the Teamsters she has become anti-union, even writing a book entitled “Union Hypocrisy.” She claims to have a winning record-busting union and has worked on anti-union campaigns for governments, non-profits, and companies in the airline, transportation, healthcare, hospitality, energy, and retail sectors. According to the CWA, Smith left the Teamsters after a petition was circulated to have her removed because of her gross incompetence.
According to client testimonials, Smith uses her experience working for a union to advocate against them.
“Your frank discussions about your personal experiences, the collective bargaining process, and Teamster methods and tactics helped us achieve the overwhelming victories at our Dallas and Garland terminals,” said W.C. a director of HR at a company that defeated an organizing drive by Teamsters Local 745 in Dallas.
According to Wired and RWDSU, the union organizing the workers, Amazon workers in Alabama have been forced to sit in “classes” where instructors lie to them about the dangers of unionization, including telling them their wages will go down. When workers challenge these claims they are brought to the front of the room and their ID badges are photographed.
Brown has worked as a union-buster for several decades. Some of his clients include UPS, General Electric, Krispy Kreme, Kumho Tire, ProPacific Fresh, and the St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center Hospitals. Considering that at least a few of these employers are now union employers, Brown may not be worth his retainer.
Beyond union-busting, Brown has been active in high profile anti-union lobbying, including lobbying against the PRO Act. His name can also be found on many high-profile coalition letters supporting Republican causes.

One Amazon Warehouse Worker In Alabama Has 'No Doubt' Her Coworkers Will Vote To Unionize
https://www.wbur.org/.../11/amazon-union-warehouse-alabama
February 11, 2021
Tonya MosleySamantha Raphelson
A woman works at a packing station in Amazon's fulfillment center in Staten Island. (Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images)
Amazon employees in Alabama began voting this week on whether they want to form the first union of Amazon warehouse workers in the U.S.
Past efforts at organizing Amazon warehouse workers have failed, but workers in Bessemer, Alabama, think this time will be different, despite efforts by the company to dissuade them from voting to join the union.
Jennifer Bates, an employee at the Bessemer Amazon facility who has been helping organize the union drive, says unionizing will help warehouse workers advocate for better pay and benefits, and it will give them “an opportunity to speak” directly to and be heard by management.
There are about 6,000 full-time workers at this 1-year-old fulfillment center and additional seasonal workers. Bates says a lot of her coworkers are “very excited” about unionizing because their complaints have been ignored for so long. Some people even ended up quitting because they were in so much physical pain from working long 10-hour shifts with two 30-minute breaks.
Sometimes their managers will force them to work overtime without an extra break, she says. The rules change every day.
“You can tell that the people are tired,” she says, “that they're slow walking out or either limping walking out, and for the pay that we're receiving for the workload, it doesn't balance out.”
Bates says she doesn’t know if Amazon’s practices violate labor laws, but what she does know is “that the workload is too much on the human body.”
Workers at the giant Bessemer facility are required to walk up and down flights of stairs and lug heavy boxes off of trucks, she says. By the time they cross the facility and go downstairs to reach the break room, workers have barely had much time to rest before their 30 minutes is up.
“Some of the boxes are really heavy, so it's a lot of walking and standing, walking and standing [at] this fast pace,” she says.
Amazon workers at the Bessemer facility are voting to be a part of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union [RWDSU]. President Stuart Appelbaum told Here & Now last month that the Bessemer workers’ experiences are similar to what other Amazon employees at fulfillment centers have faced.
“I believe the workers at the facility in Bessemer, Alabama, were experiencing what Amazon workers all over the world have been experiencing, and that has been a disrespect for them as workers, as people who make Amazon profitable,” he says. “They want to know that their health and safety is going to be respected, that they're going to be treated as human beings.”
Part of the reason why it’s been so difficult for Amazon workers to unionize is because they fear retaliation from the company, Appelbaum says.
“People are afraid of Amazon,” he says. “Even if Amazon says it's not pressuring people, it's creating the impression that people should be afraid.”
Amazon has tried to stop the organizing efforts in Bessemer. The company has brought in a union-busting law firm and posted signs around the facility discouraging workers from unionizing, Appelbaum says. Workers were told that joining the union will cost them money for little benefit, Appelbaum and Bates say, even though Alabama is a right-to-work state, which means workers can opt out of the union if they choose.
"We don’t believe the RWDSU represents the majority of our employees’ views,” Amazon spokesperson Heather Knox told Here & Now in a statement. “Our employees choose to work at Amazon because we offer some of the best jobs available everywhere we hire, and we encourage anyone to compare our total compensation package, health benefits, and workplace environment to any other company with similar jobs."
Bates says there is strong support for the union, especially from younger workers who she says have talked to their parents about the benefits of joining. Appelbaum says that’s likely due to Bessemer’s history as “a strong union town.”
“Decades ago, that's where the steel mills were located,” he says. “People could speak to their parents or grandparents and hear about the difference unions made in their lives.”
Race is also playing a key role in this union drive. Many of the employees at this warehouse are Black, and union organizers are building their campaign around Black Lives Matter, Appelbaum says.
“It's time for these workers to be treated with respect,” he says. “We see this as both a labor struggle and as a civil rights struggle, which has often been the story of the labor movement in the South.”
Despite the backlash from management, Bates says she’s confident that this time Amazon workers will form a union.
“I believe it with all my heart,” she says. “I have no doubt that we'll be successful.”
Read the full statement from Amazon on the Bessemer, Alabama, facility, from Heather Knox:
"We opened this site in March and since that time have created more than 5,000 full-time jobs in Bessemer, with starting pay of $15.30 per hour, including full healthcare, vision and dental insurance, 50% 401(K) match from the first day on the job in safe, innovative, inclusive environments, with training, continuing education, and long-term career growth. We work hard to support our teams and more than 90% of associates at our Bessemer site say they would recommend Amazon as a good place to work to their friends.
"We don’t believe the RWDSU represents the majority of our employees’ views. Our employees choose to work at Amazon because we offer some of the best jobs available everywhere we hire, and we encourage anyone to compare our total compensation package, health benefits, and workplace environment to any other company with similar jobs."
Chris Bentley produced and edited this interview for broadcast with Tinku Ray. Samantha Raphelson adapted it for the web.
This segment aired on February 11, 2021.

'We Won't Be Intimidated,' Says NY AG After Amazon Files Preemptive Suit Over Covid-19 Worker Safety
"This action by Amazon is nothing more than a sad attempt to distract from the facts and shirk accountability for its failures to protect hardworking employees from a deadly virus.”
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/02/12/we-wont-be-intimidated-says-ny-ag-after-amazon-files-preemptive-suit-over-covid-19
Published on
Friday, February 12, 2021
byCommon Dreams
byJessica Corbett, staff writer
9 Comments
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 via Getty Images)
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 via Getty Images)
New York Attorney General Letitia James responded forcefully on Friday to Amazon's preemptive lawsuit intended to block her from taking legal action against the behemoth corporation over workplace safety during the coronavirus pandemic and the firing of warehouse workers involved in a walkout last spring.

"We remain undeterred in our efforts to protect workers from exploitation."
—New York Attorney General Letitia James
"Throughout this pandemic, Amazon employees have been forced to work in unsafe conditions, all while the company and its CEO made billions off of their backs," James said in a statement about the suit. "This action by Amazon is nothing more than a sad attempt to distract from the facts and shirk accountability for its failures to protect hardworking employees from a deadly virus."

"Let me be clear: We will not be intimidated by anyone, especially corporate bullies that put profits over the health and safety of working people," the state attorney general added. "We remain undeterred in our efforts to protect workers from exploitation and will continue to review all of our legal options."

Amazon on Friday filed a federal suit in the Eastern District Court of New York. The complaint, according to Bloomberg, says James' office "has threatened to sue if the retail giant doesn't comply with a list of demands, which include subsidizing public bus service and reducing production targets required of workers in its warehouses."


As Bloomberg reports:

The company's complaint also amounts to a lengthy and detailed defense of its actions to protect employees, including a day-by-day chronicle of safety measures it rolled out as the respiratory virus spread around the U.S. in March and April.

"Amazon has been intensely focused on Covid-19 safety and has taken extraordinary, industry-leading measures grounded in science, above and beyond government guidance and requirements, to protect its associates from Covid-19," the company said in its complaint.

James launched an investigation into Amazon after workers—including organizer Chris Smalls, who was later fired—protested conditions at a Staten Island warehouse. The state AG said at the time that "it is disgraceful that Amazon would terminate an employee who bravely stood up to protect himself and his colleagues."

Reporting on the company's move Friday, the New York Daily News noted that "Smalls says that he and another employee, Derrick Palmer, were terminated in retaliation for starting the protests. Amazon has argued that the two employees were terminated for their own failure to comply with health regulations."

The Seattle-based company was founded by the world's richest person, Jeff Bezos, whose wealth has surged during the pandemic. Bezos, who announced this month that he will step down as Amazon's CEO later this year and transition to the role of executive chair, had a net worth of $189.5 billion as of Friday, according to Forbes.

In December 2020, shortly after a global coalition of workers and activists took to the streets on Black Friday to launch the #MakeAmazonPay campaign, 401 lawmakers from 34 countries endorsed the effort with an open letter to Bezos, putting him "on notice that Amazon's days of impunity are over."
sm_amazon_feb_20_day_of_action.jpg
Added to the calendar on Sunday Feb 14th, 2021 8:27 PM
§Amazon Bezos Kills Workers
by UFCLP
Sunday Feb 14th, 2021 8:27 PM
sm_amazon_bezos_kill_workers.jpg
Bezos the owner of Amazon in his drive for for profits is killing workers by failing to have proper PPE and testing.
§Alabama Bessemer Workers Are Voting On A Union Contract
by UFCLP
Sunday Feb 14th, 2021 8:27 PM
amazon_besemer_worker_posters.jpeg
Amazon Alabama Bessemer workers are voting for a union and face massive union busting by the company.
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
TITLE AUTHOR DATE
Young People: Be There for Your FutureLabor Organizing is the KeyMonday Feb 15th, 2021 8:39 PM
We are 100% volunteer and depend on your participation to sustain our efforts!

Donate

donate now

$ 135.00 donated
in the past month

Get Involved

If you'd like to help with maintaining or developing the website, contact us.

Publish

Publish your stories and upcoming events on Indybay.

IMC Network