*NOTE: This video & podcast were recorded before the results of the vote to Unionize in Alabama!*
The word ‘Amazon’ has become a highly complicated word. The first time I heard the word was when I was a wee child learning about the mighty Amazon Rainforest & River in heart of South America. A place that was so uncharted that it could hold the secrets to curing diseases, ending famine and even immortality. Ok, so that last one might be a plot to an Indiana Jones movie. For a long time I associated the word ‘Amazon’ with this lush rainforest that could hold the curiosity of humanity for ages.
Later I learned about the Amazons from Greece. Fierce female warriors that can go toe to toe with best of any warrior across the lands. Eventually, being the comic book nerd I am, I discovered Wonder Woman, the Amazonian Super Hero, who’s known be just as powerful as the ultimate superhero, Superman. But even that association has been tainted by the film school boy wonder, Zack Snyder, who made her as powerful as any schlub that can get their hands on a super solider formula. And I know I just mixed comic book references nerds…I did that on purpose, so let’s all relax.
But today, when we talk about Amazon, we don’t talk about the bounty of nature or some of the most powerful warriors this side of the galaxy, but rather a bald man, who’s known for violating human rights, tormenting his workers and has a possible pee fetish. I am of course referring to the Amazon Mega Corporation and its super villain like owner Jeff Bezos.
Right now across the nation, Amazon employees are starting to get organized against the almost Trillionaire. From Baltimore to New Orleans to Portland and even in Birmingham, Amazon employees are looking to unionize. The initial spark was set by the illegal firing of Chris Smalls from the Staten Island warehouse last year. Smalls called out the negligence of the oligarchical management of Amazon to shut down, sanitize and provide paid time off for employees after they had 2 known positive cases in their facility. He was fired for “neglecting COVID protocols”. Amazon literally flipped the script and then used racist stereotypes to justify their actions, claiming Smalls wasn’t intelligent because he was black.
The battle for unionization is particularly intensifying near Birmingham, AL where the workers of the Bessemer warehouse are planning on unionizing with the Retail, Wholesale & Department Store Union or RWDSU. Support for Amazon workers unionizing is growing in Birmingham! According to Left Voice, upwards of 65% of Birmingham residents support unions and want Amazon workers to treated fairly in better work conditions with better benefits and pay.
And that’s in Alabama, which is stereotypically thought to be a very dumb, conservative, backwards thinking state, despite it being the hot bed for the Civil Rights movement. Alabama suffers the same propaganda as West Virginia, who’s history of the labor union has been all but erased. We don’t learn about how the south was fighting for worker rights and equality which only leads to further division. But the fight for unionization proves Liberals who have a low opinion of the state wrong. Turns out when you actually educate people and help them understand other people’s perspectives, Socialism and the idea of community aren’t so bad.
The research shows that with unions, wages are due to go up and employees are up to 15% more likely to get healthcare, paid time off and retirement benefits. And in Alabama that’s huge! In a study reported by the World Socialist Website, Alabama has a 28% poverty rate. Wages for Hispanic workers have dropped by 9%, for whites by 5% and for Black Americans by 3%! Again, Jeff Bezos is on his way to become a trillionaire on the stolen wages of all workers. Most Alabamians are either on a Medicaid or Medicare program or don’t have health insurance. The idea of Unions is to empower workers, bring them to the negotiating and ensure true equality between the owners and the workers. Remember the owners are nothing without the labor of the workers.
But that’s why unionizing and organizing is so dangerous for people like Jeff Bezos. He can’t be the God-King of Earth if he has to treat his employees with respect and equality. God Kings don’t see value in these trivial peasant things! They only see value in gold, like a stereotypical dragon. The difference here is that REAL Mythical Dragons are cool and have a fantasy video games written about them. Nobody wants to see a Jeff Bezos video game or a video game about any oligarch really. Besides only dick Dragons hoard gold. Badass Dragons support unions and have universal healthcare. They also respect privacy, which is why you don’t see that many Dragons around these days.
Amazon is known to be horrendous to its employees. The threats to fire employees that even think about unions is only the start. They regularly have anti-union meetings and propaganda videos like other corporations, such as Walmart. And they track their employees to guarantee efficiency. This where the timed pee breaks come from. These rules are so strictly enforced that employees are known to pee in bottles. After hearing about the treatment of workers, the Department of Defense wanted to hire Bezos as a consultant for more efficient torture methods for Guantanamo Bay.
In order to prevent unionizations, Jeff Bezos and Amazon have teamed up with intelligence analysts to monitor and track conversations between employees about unionization over social media. They spent $10k on anti-union consultants. They also pushed the City of Birmingham to change the time of stop lights so employees don’t have to time to talk in the parking lot. This means that Amazon owns politicians in the cities they have a warehouse in! Which proves that Politicians are really just corporate whores, making CEOs a fancy acronym for pimp.
Now, abusive assholes take note, because this is how its done! Some abusers don’t go the distance, but Jeff Bezos doesn’t abuse part time, no! He goes full tilt into abusing the ever living hell out of the working class. Abuse is a career to Bezos. It’s a lifestyle choice! He eats, drinks, and breaths abuse! But then again, Bezos has the privilege of turning his passion into a career.
As if that wasn’t enough, Amazon’s management has hired the Bessemer Police Department to moonlight as armed guards to protect the warehouse from…human rights. The cops are now patrolling the area to ensure workers come into work, prevent strikes and ban anyone standing in solidarity with the strikers. This includes the press like journalists from the Left Voice who were harassed when they arrived o the scene.
If you needed any more proof that the police are only here to protect and serve the oligarchs, Jeff Bezos and his Amazon cretins just did it for you. If you weren’t convinced of this fact from the origins of policing existing in slave patrols, the attacks Socialists & members of the Labor Movement, the brutality against Climate Change & Black Lives Matter activists, the largest corporation on the planet using cops as strike breaking mercenaries is pretty convincing evidence. It’s shows us exactly how far oligarchs are willing to go to continue depriving the working class of their basic needs.
Amazon is also sending false texts to its employees, claiming that a vote for unionization will lead to loss of pay, healthcare and benefits. Again remember that Unions have helped increase pay and help folks get healthcare. This is a blatant lie from Amazon. A lie to ensure Jeff Bezos can keep his trillion and his endless supply of skull wax.
Another hurdle for Amazon employees is the union itself. The RWDSA is part of the United Food & Commercial Workers, which has notoriously sided with the bosses & corporations over the workers it’s supposed to represent. Much like the teachers across the country, Amazon workers should form Rank & File Safety Committees to push back against a compromised union. Both the World Socialist Website & Left Voice have addressed the importance of these committees to ensure that the working class is represented accurately at the negotiating table.
And let’s all say this together, Unions are not meant to side with a political party or a corporation. They are meant to stand beside the workers and empower them. If a union is propping up a party or a CEO, then they’re not a legitimate union and have been co-opted by the Capitalist machine! That’s the problem with the American Federation of Teacher, who’s President, Randi Wiergarten, sits on the board of the DNC! So the working class have to rally and organize to empower themselves when the Union sell out, like the band Green Day. The American Federation of Teachers is the Green Day of Unions.
Jeff Bezos has managed to taint the word ‘Amazon’. He’s turned it into a synonym for human rights violations, abuse & working class torture. But we don’t have accept his definition of the word. As consumers, supporting the workers of Amazon’s right to unionize and organize will make the movement much larger and show the oligarchs who has the power in this abusive relationship. If we the people can decrease Amazon’s bottom line by even 10% by not consuming from their website or using their services, we can not only help the workers, but take back the word ‘Amazon’.