The Feb 20, National Day of Action in solidarity with the Bessemer, Alabama Amazon workers, was a national call to action to support organizing the South. Thanks to the many who organized and participated in solidarity actions.
The Bessemer workers launched their campaign at a time of increasing repressive government and the rise of a racist and divisive social movement that threatened to turn back the clock on basic democratic rights. Like the 1955, Montgomery, Alabama Bus Boycott during a similar repressive and divisive period, the Bessemer Amazon workers led by the 80-percent Black and women majority and the Retail Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), stepped forward.
Being the largest transnational corporation in the US, and a major part of the US and global economic supply-chain, Amazon corporate elites could not conceive of Amazon workers in the deep South, being a catalyst for igniting a national solidarity campaign.
Solidarity actions at Amazon sites were held in more than 50 cities, with 23 being in the South. The South is a region where US corporations and state governments have enacted the largest concentration of anti-labor laws and social policies designed to prevent unionization, keep wages low and working people divided. This has in turn helped to undermined the strength of the US national labor movement.
The Southern Workers Assembly (SWA), made the call for the National Day of Action, not as a one-time event. It is part of a larger strategy that requires the involvement of local and national labor unions, their rank-n-file, community organizations and social movements. It will take a national and international movement to organize transnational corporations in the South.
The SWA sees the national solidarity actions taking the next step to form local worker assemblies that unite rank-n-file workers, local unions and community organizations into a national network to expand organizing at Amazon locations and to support organizing labor in the South. The SWA will be reaching out to the 23 solidarity actions held in the South, to discuss developing an infrastructure of worker assemblies with rank-n-file organizers at Amazon and other major industries and sectors throughout the South.
With less than a month left before the union vote count of the Bessemer Amazon workers, the continuous solidarity actions in the form of weekly leafleting and developing and follow-up on Amazon worker contacts are important. Videos, photos and reports of weekly actions can be sent to the SWA at southernworkers.org for posting on the SWA website.
The SWA call for the Feb 20 National Day of Action for the Bessemer Amazon workers union campaign, has prompted the formation of other solidarity committees and actions to help to spread the word far and wide. The work of the SWA will be building worker assemblies, and training rank-n-file organizers/cadres as an infrastructure for organizing a radical labor movement in the South. Whatever corporate schemes Amazon tries to use to discredit or defeat the union vote, Amazon workers must maintain organization to continue to involve workers in a collective struggle for changes.
Victory to the Bessemer Amazon Workers!