An Alabama Amazon Worker's Case for Unionization

Jennifer Bates, an employee of the Bessemer fulfillment center, explains why the forthcoming vote is so monumental.

Maximillian Alvarez

During a protest in New York, members of the Workers Assembly Against Racism show their support for the Amazon union drive in Bessemer, AL. Erik McGregor / Getty Images

At this very moment, one of the most historic union drives of our era is taking place at the Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama. Around 5,800 workers at the facility, the majority of whom are Black, are currently voting on whether or not to unionize with the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU). If they are successful, the workers in Bessemer would become the first unionized Amazon workforce in the United States, and Amazon is pulling out all the stops to keep that from happening. We got to sit down with Jennifer Bates, one of the fulfillment center workers in Bessemer, to talk about her working conditions and about why this union vote is so important.

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Maximillian Alvarez is editor-in-chief at the Real News Network and host of the podcast Working People, available at InThe​se​Times​.com. He is also the author of The Work of Living: Working People Talk About Their Lives and the Year the World Broke.

Democratic Rep. Summer Lee, who at the time was a candidate for the state House, at a demonstration in Pittsburgh for Antwon Rose, who was killed by police, in 2018. Lee recently defeated her 2024 primary challenger.
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