Anti-poverty group leader weighs in on Amazon unionization in Bessemer

Mar 22, 2021


Credit Associated Press

The voting deadline for unionization for Amazon workers in Bessemer is approaching.

A rally is taking place in the Birmingham suburb in support of this vote. They are voting on whether or not to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

Reverend Dr. William Barber of the Poor People’s Campaign is one of the speakers for the event. He said unions have always had a hard time establishing in the south. 

“There has been an outright effort as far back as the turn of the 19th to the 20th century on through the New Deal up until now to fight against labor unions in the South,” he said. 

The rally is part of the Poor Peoples’ Campaign’s Moral Monday series of events. Barber said the reason for this has to do with more than workers’ rights. 

“Because the potential to bring Black and White and Brown workers together in the South," he said. "It would raise wages in the South and it would empower the workers to join together, not only in terms of fighting for union rights but also waging the fight for voting rights.” 

Barber said 85 percent of the workers at the Bessemer site are Black.  The warehouse workers must mail their ballots to the National Labor Relations Board by Monday, March 29. The rally is taking place at the Unity CME Church in Bessemer.