Regarding this week's vote count on whether to unionize at an Amazon facility near Birmingham, a former senator is not surprised, as liberal organizations have targeted Alabama for some time.
Workers at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama have told the Associated Press they are on their feet for long periods of time, and their water breaks and trips to fetch fresh work gloves or to use the restroom are closely monitored.
"Amazon denies that, saying it offers two 30-minute breaks during each shift and extra time to use the bathroom or get water," reports Associated Press. "Spokeswoman Rachel Lighty says the company already offers them what unions want: benefits, career growth, and pay that starts at $15 an hour."
But according to Stuart Applebaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, employees feel Amazon did not do enough to protect them from COVID-19. He says the Black Lives Matter movement has inspired people to demand they be treated with respect and dignity.
According to Associated Press, more than 70% of the population of Bessemer is black. Moreover, an estimated 85% of the retail union's membership is composed of black or African-American workers.
Phil Williams, a former state senator now serving as chief policy officer and general counsel for Alabama Policy Institute, an organization opposed to the unionization effort, says this is about getting more unions in the right-to-work state of Alabama.
"There is a very liberal organization by the name of Jobs To Move America, and if you look at their board online, they are made up of all the major union representatives," Williams details. "This organization is literally devoted to the idea of unionizing plants throughout Alabama, and they've targeted another one in Calhoun County."
Bessemer, Alabama is located in Jefferson County.
Dawn Hoag is one worker at the Amazon warehouse who opted against unionization. She says Amazon makes it clear that its jobs are physically demanding, and she insists she can speak up for herself and does not need to pay a union to do it for her.