BIRMINGHAM, March 31, 2022 – The Alabama Coalition for Community Benefits just wrapped up an intensive community education program to initiate conversations about workers’ rights and the Amazon workers’ unionization drive in Bessemer, Alabama–canvassing over 3,000 individuals and 500 communal institutions such as barber shops, hair salons, and churches, like the “kitchen table” conversations that started the Civil Rights movement.
The Alabama Coalition–with members like Jobs to Move America, Alabama NAACP, Greater Birmingham Ministries, Black Lives Matter Birmingham, and more–has played a key role in the Amazon workers’ unionization drive since last year. This year, the Coalition’s community leaders began canvassing community spaces in mid February, soon after the Amazon workers began their union election on February 4–a rerun of last year’s election due to Amazon’s illegal misconduct. This resulted in 54 churches and groups in Alabama joining the Coalition and supporting the Amazon workers’ campaign.
“The Amazon Bessemer workers and their families are members of our community. We attend church, mosque, and temple together. We’re neighbors. We eat at the same restaurants and go to the same local businesses. As a person of faith, I’m proud of the Amazon workers for standing up for their sacred dignity, for speaking truth to power about their right to safe, respectful workplaces. We want them to succeed and want them to unionize because it strengthens all of us,” says Pastor K.O. Williams of The Great I Am Ministries.
Thousands of community members put signs in their yards and on their windows in support of the Amazon workers unionizing. Over 10,000 flyers were passed out to Amazon workers and community members with voter education.
Hundreds attended rallies that were organized by the community and Amazon workers. Amazon workers spoke about voting yes to unionize so that they can have safer, respectful workplaces. Days earlier, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) filed unfair labor practice charges (ULPs), alleging that Amazon is illegally interfering with their workers’ right to organize again.
Community leaders–like Erica Iheme, Deputy Director of Jobs to Move America–encouraged Amazon workers to vote yes to unionize, “because when Amazon workers are successful, all of Alabama’s gonna be successful.”
The Alabama Coalition for Community Benefits will continue to do justice work in the South, coordinating with other organizations working locally to address issues like worker justice and civil rights.
About the Alabama Coalition for Community Benefits
The Alabama Coalition for Community Benefits is a coalition of labor, community, civil rights, faith, and environmental justice groups working to hold corporations that do business in the South accountable to workers and communities.
For more information, go here.