Actor and activist Danny Glover traveled this week to the most-watched Amazon facility in the country — the Bessemer fulfillment center outside Birmingham, Alabama.
The warehouse’s more than 5,800 predominantly Black workers are in the middle of a historic vote on unionization. If a majority vote in favor, they would become the e-commerce giant’s first U.S. employees to form a union.
"We simply have to stop glorifying the billionaires who are trying any way they can to disempower workers."
In the lead-up to the vote, Amazon deployed what the union calls the “gold package” of anti-union tactics, including intimidating meetings with managers, setting up a fear-mongering web site, and plastering workplace restrooms with propaganda.
“We’re seeing all the draconian, ugly ways that corporations demonize the idea of organized labor,” Glover said in an interview with Inequality.org on February 22 before heading off to show support for the workers at the plant gate and in meetings with local officials and media. “We simply have to stop glorifying the billionaires who are trying any way they can to disempower workers.”
This is not the first time the Hollywood actor has stood in solidarity with employees of a wealthy, anti-union CEO like Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. It’s not even his first time doing it in the notoriously labor-unfriendly south.
Today I got to visit with Amazon workers in Alabama who have been organizing to form a union. Working people coming together and demanding guaranteed contractual improvements or legislative improvements is how we will enact real sustaining change throughout our Country! https://t.co/7DsQ07jp2P— Danny Glover (@mrdannyglover) February 23, 2021
Several years ago, Glover was a steadfast supporter of a campaign to organize a Nissan auto plant in Canton, Mississippi that also had a majority-Black workforce. At that time, Nissan’s CEO was Carlos Ghosn, a centimillionaire known for making veiled threats to undermine union drives.
Today, Ghosn is a fugitive, running from charges of financial wrongdoing. But under his reign, the company managed to pressure a majority of the Canton workers to vote against unionization.
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Will the union leading the Bessemer campaign, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, have better luck?