The Socialist

The Socialist 10 March 2021

NHS pay - 15% now

The Socialist issue 1124

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


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


Workers respond to 'back to school'


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


150th anniversary of Rosa Luxemburg's birth


Would a wealth tax end poverty and inequality?


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


Historic union battle at Alabama warehouse

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


The Socialist Inbox

 
 
 
 
 

PO Box 1398, Enfield EN1 9GT

020 8988 8777

[email protected]

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1124/32156

Seach this siteSearch the site

Printable versionPrintable version

Facebook

Twitter

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

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook

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.

  • This article can be read in full on independentsocialistgroup.org

In this issue


NHS pay

NHS pay - 15% now

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

Police disgracefully stop NHS pay protest


News

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


Schools

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"


Letters

The Socialist Inbox


 

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

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook