[quote] Amazon is fighting the union. The company argues the warehouse created thousands of jobs with an average pay of $15.30 per hour — more than twice the minimum wage in Alabama. Workers also get benefits including health care, vision and dental insurance without paying union dues, the company said.
Sanders spoke at a union rally in Birmingham on Friday, saying a labor victory against the tech and retail giant owned by the richest person in world — and in a historically anti-union state — would resonate across the country.
“What you are doing here is historical, historical, because all over this country people are sick and tired of being exploited, sick and tired of not having the dignity that they deserve. And your message to people all over this country is stand up and fight back,” Sanders said.
“This country belongs to all of us, not just a handful of billionaires,” the former Democratic presidential candidate said.
Ahead of Sanders’ visit, Amazon CEO Dave Clark tweeted that they “actually deliver” a progressive workplace with a $15 hourly minimum wage and good health benefits that Sanders said he supports.
“So, if you want to hear about $15 an hour and health care, Senator Sanders will be speaking downtown. But if you would like to make at least $15 an hour and have good health care, Amazon is hiring,” Clark tweeted.
[quote] According to BAmazonUnion.org, workers are fighting for “dignity and respect” along with safer working conditions. Theirs is both a civil rights and a labor struggle. They are part of the proud history of the Bessemer-Birmingham area’s Black community, from the independent, interracial unionism of the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers in the 1930s and 40s to the 1963 Children’s March against racist segregation.
Amazon’s system is entrenched in racism, as revealed Feb. 26 by Vox/Recode. Review of internal data and interviews with workers and diversity managers showed that Black Amazon employees are underrepresented in decision teams, promoted less frequently and assessed more harshly than non-Black peers.
With Alabama’s history of enslavement of Black people, and legal segregation a living memory, it’s guaranteed that racist discrimination is present inside Amazon’s BHM1 warehouse. The warehouse opened in March 2020; by May, workers were so outraged at their treatment they sought out RWDSU, beginning the fight for union representation. Profit is what a company pockets after costs of labor and overhead are subtracted from sales revenue. In Marxist terms, profit is the value that workers produce, but are not paid for in wages — our unpaid labor. The lower the workers’ wages, the more profit capitalists keep for themselves.