BESEMER, Al. (AP) – Linda Burns was initially excited to find work at an Amazon warehouse outside of Birmingham, Alabama. The former nurse always gladly ordered from the company, now she would work for them.
The hammer in the fast-moving assembly line, his job was to take customer orders, send them from the line to the packers. He is now a staunch supporter of forming a union at the Bessemer Institute. He said that employees who face relentless quotas deserve more respect.
“They treat us not as humans, but as robots,” said Burns, 51, who said he was recovering from a hamstring injury after a vacation.
This week, Amazon employees’s union defenders, including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, pushed at the last minute as the vote ended in a high-profile union battle. If the organizers are successful, it could lead to a chain reaction of other union pressures on Amazon facilities. If rejected, it would be another loss for organizers hoping to win a rare job victory at Deep South.
Amazon is fighting against the union. The company claims that the warehouse created thousands of jobs with an average salary of $ 15.30 per hour, more than double the minimum wage in Alabama. The company states that employees receive benefits, including health care, vision, and dental insurance, without having to pay union fees.
Speaking at a trade union rally in Birmingham on Friday, Sanders said a victory over the tech giant, the world’s richest man in a historically anti-Union state, would resonate across the country.
“What you are doing here is historic. Historical People are sick, tired of exploitation, sick, tired of having the dignity they deserve. “And your message to all the people of this country is to stand up and fight,” Sanders said.
“This country belongs to all of these, not just a handful of billionaires,” said the former Democratic presidential candidate.
Ahead of Sanders’ visit, Amazon CEO Dave Clark tweeted that they were “actually delivering” an advanced job with a minimum wage of $ 15 and good health benefits, which Sanders says he supports.
“So if you want to hear about $ 15 an hour of health care, Senator Sanders will be speaking in downtown. “But if you want to earn at least $ 15 an hour and have good health care, Amazon hires you,” Clark wrote on Twitter.
Burns և Harvey Wilson, 41, who works as a “voter” at Amazon, both said they supported the union because of poor working conditions in the warehouse. They say that employees are subject to merciless quotas, the size of the facility’s mammoth makes it almost impossible to get to the toilet, and return to your station.
“How can you work for someone who is a trillion, a billion, whatever you want to call him, how can you work for him, he does not want you to go to the bathroom?” Burns said.
Wilson said he was unsure of how the vote would go, as a number of young workers feared they might lose their privileges.
“A lot of people are afraid to vote because they are afraid they are not going to lose their job,” Wilson said.
Employees want to introduce themselves to the union of retail, wholesale և department stores. Ballots must be returned by Monday.
The vote in Alabama comes after efforts to form unions at Southern auto plants were halted.
Emmith Ashford, a part-time employee at Amazon, said that even if the vote failed, she believed that workers at Bessemer had caught fire.
“No matter what happens with this vote, the bell has rung, it will not stop here. We will not stop fighting, “Ashford said at a rally ahead of the vote.