Unionization vote for Alabama Amazon employees

Olivia Reinert, Rampage Reporter

Beginning this week, Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama, will cast their ballots as to whether to instate a union at their location. This marks the first real union election at an Amazon warehouse in the US. The election runs through March 29th and has attracted national attention.

Amazon has a well-documented history of employee injustice, including a recent lawsuit in which Amazon was forced to pay out $62 million when they were caught lowering hourly wages of delivery drivers without notice, and covering the extra expense using their tips. Among many other infractions, the international conglomerate has also been widely criticized for low wages, harsh conditions, and grueling hours.

Amazon has predictably fought the Union as ferociously as it can. All around the warehouse posters were hung up with phrases like “Unions can’t. We can!” plastered on them. Amazon also set up a website intended to spread misinformation about potential unions. The website is “Doitwithoutdues.com.”

This vote will set a precedent for US Amazon warehouses and has the potential to knock the first domino down and inspire similar warehouses across the country to follow suit. The last time an Amazon warehouse held a union vote was in Delaware way back in 2014, where the employee’s ultimate voted to reject the union. However, the social climate of today is in a much different place than it was 7 years ago. COVID-19 has everyone rattled, the country is shaken with political tension, and resentment towards wealthy mega-corporations and their unscrupulous work ethics are growing. If this vote passes, it could mark the beginning of major change with how this country approaches unions.

Senator Bernie Sanders felt similarly, sending out a Feb 6th tweet stating: “It cannot be overstated how powerful it will be if Amazon workers in Alabama vote to form a union. They are taking on powerful anti-union forces in a strong anti-union state, but their victory will benefit every worker in America. I’m proud to stand with them.”

The US has been famously anti-union. But as worker conditions decrease and the economic inequality between the working class and the rich continue to grow and grow, it does not have to be this way.