Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 10 March 2021

Solidarity with Amazon workers!

Historic union battle at Alabama warehouse

Amazon, photo Scott Lewis./CC

Amazon, photo Scott Lewis./CC   (Click to enlarge)

Ashley Rogers, Independent Socialist Group (CWI, USA)

Deep in the heart of the American South, through the mire of anti-union repression, nearly 6,000 Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, are making a historic push to successfully organise the first Amazon warehouse in the United States.

They are now clearing one of the last obstacles to unionisation, voting for representation. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it immense levels of devastation for the working class. While working people suffer under the worst economic conditions in living memory, companies like Amazon - now the third largest corporation in the world - have experienced massive growth.

This growth has come at the cost of its employees' health, safety, and standard of living. During the pandemic Amazon's revenue has increased by over $100 billion, while Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos nearly doubled his personal net worth.

The last time Amazon workers voted on union representation, in 2014, it was a group of only 30 workers. Now, the push in Alabama comes from over 5,805 workers in a single location.

Coming just weeks after Teamsters in New York City successfully forced bosses to the negotiating table with a week-long strike, it shows that workers in the logistics industry are gathering their power.

Amazon is attacking workers, at the Bessemer distribution centre and across the country, with anti-union propaganda, declaring in leaked videos that unionisation could "hurt innovation" and "jeopardise everyone's job security."

The company also compels workers to attend "captive audience meetings" where corporate anti-union lies are forced on the workers. Amazon has even begun offering long-standing workers at the facility a $2,000 or more bonus if they quit, all in an effort to disrupt the union vote.

Amazon has long-standing anti-union policies. For example, in 2001, when the company was a fraction of the size it is now, it laid off 850 employees in a Seattle customer service centre after a union drive. Since then, Amazon has grown to over a million employees - only the second American company ever to reach this size - and its anti-union practices have only grown increasingly sophisticated and repressive.

If the majority of the workers vote 'yes' for the union - the voting lasts until 29 March - it would open a new chapter in union organising at Amazon, and a historic victory against Big Tech would be won that could set off a flurry of organising activity at other Amazon locations across the country.

Since the start of the Covid pandemic we have seen an increase in 'wildcat' strikes - strikes without official union approval. Just days into the Covid crisis in March, UAW members in a Michigan Fiat-Chrysler assembly plant, after hearing two of their co-workers had been quarantined for coronavirus, staged a wildcat work stoppage and forced management to close the plant in only three hours.

Actions such as these show that it's often the rank-and-file, rather than the union leadership, which initiates struggles against the bosses.

Unionised workers shouldn't have illusions in the often-conservative union bureaucracy. Workers can build the power of the membership within their union, through militant workplace action, and pull conservative bureaucrats into struggle.

The union drive in Bessemer highlights the golden opportunity that labour has: to fight and win better lives for working people during one of the most trying periods in US history.

If the labour movement is able to break away from the parasitic Democratic Party and the bureaucratic union leadership, both of which act as a brake on working-class struggle, we will be able to make serious gains for the working class and fight for a socialist society with a democratically planned economy, operated for the needs of all.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our Fighting Fund.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 10 March 2021:

NHS pay

NHS pay - 15% now

NHS workers say: We are ready to fight Tory pay insult

Police disgracefully stop NHS pay protest


Super-deduction will help big business pay less tax

The 'old normal' meant poverty for young people

What we think

Tories keep bailing out bosses, while piling pain on workers and public services


Workers respond to 'back to school'

Workplace news

British Gas strikers reject deal and carry on fighting

Goodlord striker speaks out: 'workers have to fight for our skills to be appreciated'

Stop union busting on the buses: Reinstate Declan Clune and Moe Muhsin Manir

Sparks deskilling protests

Leicester university workers ballot for action against redundancies

Sainsbury's pay offer shows future will only be 'great pay' if we fight

PCS leadership failures lead to concession bargaining on pay

Manchester bus drivers' indefinite strikers fight on

London bus drivers continue walkout

Rosa Luxemburg

150th anniversary of Rosa Luxemburg's birth

Wealth Tax

Would a wealth tax end poverty and inequality?

Campaigns news

Socialist women speak at inspirational International Women's Day online rally

Why I joined the Socialist Party - to fight for the future of the working class

Why I'm standing for TUSC

Build subscriptions to the Socialist

Fighting fund target achieved - keep up the momentum

International news

Historic union battle at Alabama warehouse

10 years ago - the Fukushima nuclear disaster: "We came close to losing northern Japan"


The Socialist Inbox


Home   |   The Socialist 10 March 2021   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

Related links:


triangleFilm review: Nomadland

triangleAmazon - union vote lost

triangleNews in brief

triangleNews in brief

triangleNews in brief


triangleRedbridge school walkout over victimised union rep

triangleConference 2021: Divide between union leaders and rank-and-file exposed

triangleLeft candidate needed for Unite general secretary election


triangleSparks win victory!

triangleBooks that inspired me: The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists

triangleLeicester University workers strike against redundancies


triangleInternational solidarity protests

triangleTamil Solidarity asylum victory


triangleEngineers in fourth week of strike action





Who represents the Palestinians?



Will Biden's new foreign policy change the direction of US imperialism?



Palestinian self-determination - is the solution one state or two?



Will Biden's 'green' agenda avert an impending climate change catastrophe?



Boycotts - what role can these play in the struggle for a Palestinian state?



Colombia: General strikes continue



Belarus: Lukashenko's desperate attempt to silence opposition



Mexico City subway train collapse - negligence, corruption and capitalism



US right to abortion under threat: Mass campaign to support the right to choose must be built



The 'Fall of Paris' 150 years ago



Capitalism responsible for stark global Covid vaccine inequality



Stop Israeli state brutality


Spanish state

Right-wing Partido Popular wins Madrid elections - a warning to the working class



Is Biden offering a new 'New Deal'?



Biden's policies will not solve underlying US crisis

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: [email protected]

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 078 0983 9793



Alphabetical listing

June 2021

May 2021

April 2021

March 2021

February 2021

January 2021