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Votes being tallied in unionization effort with Bessemer's Amazon workers

Amazon union Bessemer
Associated Press


Workers at the Amazon facility near Bessemer will soon learn if they’re going union or not.

The National Labor Relations Board will start counting the votes in the unionization effort today. More than 5,000 ballots have been cast to say whether the workers will be part of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

Workers have seen plenty of visitors stopping in to support them. One of them was Reverend Dr. William Barber II of the Poor Peoples’ Campaign. He said this step towards unionization is similar to a key moment in the fight for voting rights. 

“This is in some sense a modern day Selma for economic justice because when these workers walk across this bridge of denial and cast their votes and open up this union, this Amazon its going to be like a ripple effect across the south,” he said. 

Barber said this is part of an effort to keep Black people and poor whites from working together on other issues like voting rights. He said the ripple effect would not be contained to the south. 

“If you organize the south around the challenges of systemic racism and the challenges of economic injustice, then the south can, in fact lead, to the transformation of the entire nation. If you want real healing in America, let these workers get justice, let them organize themselves,” he said. 

Barber said 85 percent of the six thousand workers at the Bessemer site are Black.  

Amazon has been pointing out its fifteen dollar and hour minimum wage and accusing Democratic lawmakers of abandoning blue collar workers in response to complaints.

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