March 19, 2021
    NLG LEC Statement in Support of Amazon Workers in Alabama

    Solidarity Statement in Support of Amazon Workers in Alabama 

    By the National Lawyers Guild Labor and Employment Committee

    On this International Day Against Amazon Union Busting, the Labor & Employment Committee of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG-LEC), and the Alabama Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, enthusiastically support the over 5,000 workers at the Amazon “Fulfillment Center” (warehouse) in Bessemer, Alabama as they vote to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and DepartmentStoreUnion.Voting began in February and continues through March 29.

    As the Organizing Committee of the union campaign (BAmasonunion.org) says, and as we know, when workers come together to form a union, they win dignity and respect at work. Without a union, Amazon warehouse workers, have been subjected to conditions that violate workplace standards on health and safety, common dignity, and fundamental human rights.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and made worse pre-existing issues. Amazon provided only limited and inadequate protection for its workers at the start of the COVID pandemic, restricted the ability of workers to take bathroom breaks, and demanded punishing working speeds. More recently, Amazon has held captive-audience meetings to discourage unionization and continually interfered with workers’ ability to engage with organizers and supporters. In one example, on a day when community was rallying in support of the workers, Amazon released employees an hour early in a transparent effort to keep them from having any exchange with supporters or to see the support the union drive has in the community.

    Despite these efforts, the workers have only continued to gain momentum in their fight to for union representation. As members of a union, workers will have a voice that, individually they will not, to ensure the terms and conditions of their work meet their human needs.

    Co-Chair of the Alabama NLG Chapter and former NLG President, David Gespass, of Birmingham made the following statement:

    “If Amazon's claim that most of its employees do not want a union were anything but a lie, it would not be paying thousands of dollars a day to union-busting consultants."

    We demand that Amazon respect the rights of the workers, stop union-busting, and cease its anti- union activities, including its intimidation of workers. Amazon workers deserve, at a bare minimum, a fair vote, without threats and union-avoidance tactics. President Biden said recently, when voting on whether to organize, “[I]t’s a vitally important choice – one that should made without intimidation or threats by the employer.” We unequivocally support the Amazon workers of Bessemer, Alabama, in their fight to unionize.

    To join a mobilization near you on March 20 for the International Day of Solidarity With Alabama Amazon Workers & Against Union Busting on World Day Against Racism, please visit https://supportamazonworkers.org/march20/

    Since 1937, the National Lawyers Guild has provided legal support to movements for social change, principally on a volunteer basis. In the 1930s the Guild focused on workers' rights, supporting New Deal legislation to assist working people and the unemployed in the 1950s the Guild defended labor leaders and others attacked for their progressive political views. The Labor & Employment Committee focuses on struggles for economic and social justice. Then and now, the Guild L&EC actively supports progressive labor and employment law struggles. The L&EC is comprised of over a thousand labor and employment attorneys across the country. The Alabama Chapter has over 30 members, including attorneys and legal workers.