By Guest Contributor Madelyn Hoffman.
Workers’ Justice is Racial Justice.
On Saturday, February 20th, members of the Green Party of New Jersey, the Young Eco-Socialists, Black Lives Matter, Rowan Progressives, DSA South Jersey, Collingswood Dems and others, gathered outside the Amazon fulfillment center in Bellmawr, New Jersey in a show of solidarity with Amazon workers seeking to unionize the Bessemer, Alabama fulfillment center. The 5,805 workers at the fulfillment center in Bessemer, 85% Black, won the right to an election to determine whether the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union will be brought in to unionize.
If successful, this would be the first union in any of Amazon's facilities across the country in the 25 years of its existence. However, Amazon hired Morgan Lewis, a firm notorious for union busting, to do whatever it could to convince the Amazon warehouse workers not to unionize. Despite this company’s efforts to intimidate and to spread falsehoods about the benefits of a union, the mail-in election continues through March 29th. Many people in New Jersey and throughout the rest of the country will be watching the outcome closely.
According to the website, Jeff Bezos made more than $35 million/hour, or $73 billion total in 2020. These enormous profits were made during the pandemic and because of the pandemic when many people around the world were preoccupied trying to put food on their tables, while keeping themselves and their families safe. At the same time, Amazon workers providing essential services at fulfillment centers were concerned about unsafe working conditions and asking for more than $2/hour hazard pay. The median pay for an Amazon worker was $28,848.
People gathered outside the Amazon fulfillment center in Bellmawr, New Jersey in a show of solidarity with Amazon workers seeking to unionize the Bessemer, Alabama fulfillment center, on Feb. 20, 2021. Photo / Madelyn Hoffman
The New Jersey action and others were part of a national day of solidarity. More than 50 events took place around the country including one other event in New Jersey.
''Workers’ justice is racial justice," said a NJ Black Lives Matter activist, who participated in the Bellmawr, New Jersey event.
To show solidarity with Amazon Workers in Alabama, sign their petition here, and/or participate in the week-long boycott of Amazon Prime from March 7 through March 13, according to these guidelines:
Madelyn Hoffman, a seasoned activist, was director of the Grass-Roots Environmental Organization and director of New Jersey Peace Action. She was Ralph Nader’s vice-presidential running mate in New Jersey in 1996. The following year she ran for New Jersey governor as a Green. She also ran as a Green for U.S. Senate in 2018, receiving 25,150 votes, and ran for the same seat again in 2020, receiving 38,288 votes. You can read more about Madelyn's achievements here.