Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, are on the brink of becoming the first unionized employees at Amazon. As they vote to join RWDSU, Poets Union stands in solidarity with these workers — 85% of whom are Black, and a majority of whom are women — as they assert themselves against one of the most powerful corporations in the world with a long, documented history of workplace abuse and union busting. We hope their vote is successful and that it inspires more workers at Amazon to pursue unionization.
While we would support this effort regardless of the industry or corporation involved, it must be said that Amazon has special relevance to our work as poets and writers and producers of books. Amazon maintains a large and insidious presence in the world of publishing, including small press and literary magazine publishing. Its money and influence echo through the industry by its Literary Partnerships, by acquiring independent self-publishing and printing services, by its ownership of Goodreads, and, simply, by being the dominant retail space for both print and electronic books. In fact, for many publishing projects, avoiding working with or through Amazon in some capacity is all but impossible. Under grueling conditions and for inadequate pay, these very warehouse workers may be handling books with our names on them; they deserve our steadfast support in this endeavor.
For more information, please see the Support Alabama Amazon Union website.