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Amazon Alabama Worker Organizing Efforts Boost Support Rally in Grand Rapids

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GRAND RAPIDS, MI – As more than 5,000 Amazon workers in Alabama contemplate unionizing, they are gaining support for Grand Rapids from union activists.

A group representing several unions in the Grand Rapids area met Friday February 19 at Northwest Grand Rapids to rally for Amazon employees in Bessemer, AL.

Tom Burke, a member of Local 26 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Employees (IATSE), said local union leaders wanted to stand in solidarity with union-minded Amazon workers.

This is a David vs. Goliath battle and Goliath has nearly $ 200 billion in his pocket, Burke said, referring to the net worth of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. It’s hard to say its democracy when you have a company and a person who decides where warehouses are built and where they aren’t built, where they can unionize and where they won’t unionize.

We want to bring back the American dream and to do that we need to have unions, he said.

In Bessemer, Amazon workers vote by mail until March 29 to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Stores Union. It has up to 18,000 members in Alabama.

Bessemer workers who are running the union campaign there say they want more responsibility from the company on issues such as working conditions given COVID-19, overtime and benefits.

Burke said the Friday rally included plans for a trailer of vehicles passing Amazon’s fulfillment center at 68th Street and Patterson Avenue SE. The establishment opened in March 2020.

They planned to honk. Some of the vehicles had pro-union messages or signs on the windows.

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