(Al Jazeera) Birmingham, Alabama, the United States – On a recent Monday afternoon, several Amazon workers and local allies showed up to draw attention to the ongoing fight over whether to unionise the online retail giant’s fulfilment centre in Bessemer, a town of about 27,000 people. Taking over the parking lot of the Unity CME Church, workers gave speeches in between chants and calls urging Amazon to treat its employees better.
“I am ready to fight. I am tired. I want everyone to hear me, we’re in this together,” said Linda Burns, an Amazon worker who shared her experience of being reprimanded by a supervisor for taking too long during a bathroom break.
Burns is one of a small but growing number of Amazon workers who are publicly calling for a union at the Bessemer warehouse. With just a few days until the vote closes on March 29, the majority of the more than 5,800 workers at the site still haven’t cast their ballots.
As Burns addressed the small crowd on March 22, a crowd of TV news cameras trained their lenses on her, underscoring just how much attention the typically quiet Birmingham suburb has attracted in the last few weeks. If the pro-union campaign prevails, Bessemer will become the first unionised Amazon facility in the US (Amazon has several unionised facilities overseas).