Black Workers Matter! Nationwide protests supporting Amazon workers in Alabama from the Bay to Harlem

A Feb. 20 protest in Philadelphia, Pa.

On Saturday, March 20, demonstrations will be held in 45 plus cities across the U.S. – Oakland 1 p.m. at Lake Merritt

by Judy Greenspan, Worker’s World

Following Amazon worker Jennifer Bates’ powerful testimony at Sen. Bernie Sanders’ hearing Wednesday, more than 45 cities in a growing list have confirmed March 20 demonstrations supporting the Alabama union drive, which has been embraced nationally as an essential part of the critical struggle against racism and white supremacy. 

“We are not robots designed to only live to work,” Bates told the hearing. “We the workers deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.”

On March 20 at 1 p.m., Oakland will show its support for the Alabama Amazon union campaign. We will be gathering at 1 p.m. at Lake Merritt BART parking lot, Eighth and Oak Streets, Oakland, and driving to local Amazon hubs including Whole Foods Market. Then we will rally at 2:30 p.m. at Snow Park, 19th and Harrison, near Lake Merritt, Oakland. Oakland’s solidarity demonstration will be part of the international day of actions.

In the above gallery, see photos from protests in 30 different states on Feb. 20, 2021. That day, over 50 actions took place from people showing solidarity with Alabama Amazon workers in Bessemer, Ala., where workers will began voting by mail on whether to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale Department Store Workers Union (RWDSU). The harsh working conditions at Amazon warehouses, along with Amazon’s refusal to adopt measures that protect workers from COVID-19, have pushed Amazon and Whole Foods workers everywhere to step up organizing and fighting back – forcing workers to attend anti-union trainings and be the targets of invasive anti-union communications. 

This means Amazon feels threatened by the power of people working together – because of the possibility we could succeed in turning the wealth of this monolithic corporation on its head and go to its workers. If the union wins in Alabama, this could set a new precedent for Amazon workers organizing across the U.S. and for workers everywhere. Photos by Support Alabama Amazon Workers https://supportamazonworkers.org/march20/.

In Oakland, the action will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 20. Meet at Lake Merritt BART parking lot at Eighth and Oak, with a car caravan to Snow Park at 19th and Harrison and a closing rally at 2:30 p.m.

A broad coalition of groups are supporting this event. For details, see the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/463413438188478.

There are two earlier solidarity events being held on March 20 in the Bay Area in Brisbane and San Francisco. For details on these, check out the Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/Support-Alabama-Amazon-Workers-Bay-Area-102199671933591.

Last Saturday, Birmingham Black Lives Matter drove a car caravan to the Amazon warehouse to support the union. “Many of the Amazon workers in Alabama took part in the marches against the murder of George Floyd last summer,” said Larry Holmes, a leader with Support Alabama Amazon Workers. “It was their involvement in those marches that empowered them to fight for a union.”

“The BLM movement was founded and led by women. The March 20 protests will celebrate the heroes of International Working Women’s month by supporting the Black women-led struggle for the first Amazon union in the U.S.”

Support Alabama Amazon Workers Bay Area is the SF Bay Area component of the national Support Alabama Amazon Workers. We have come together to plan actions in solidarity with the Amazon union drive and build awareness in the SF Bay Area and build support for these workers. Contact Judy Greenspan by phone 510-813-4687 or email judygreenspan1952@gmail.com.