Editor in chief of The Real News: Amazon is the ‘great and un-unionized white whale’ of the labor movement


Editor in Chief of The Real News and host of Working People podcast Max Alvarez on Wednesday discussed the importance of the unionization efforts among Alabama Amazon fulfillment workers, calling the tech giant “the great and un-unionized white whale.”

Union organizing efforts quietly began at an Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Ala., in July. By December, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union that seeks to represent the warehouse had gone public with more than 2,000 workers signing cards in support of a union vote.

On Hill.TV’s “Rising,” co-host Saagar Enjeti asked Alvarez how significant the unionization efforts in Alabama were.

“Amazon is really kind of like the behemoth of the future. I mean, it’s really the behemoth of the present as well, but it’s only going to get bigger, and it’s going to keep gobbling up, you know, other businesses and incorporating more of the economy into itself,” he replied. 

Alvarez, who is currently in Alabama to cover to unionization efforts, argued that if Amazon is allowed to continue growing without input from its workers or accountability, it would negatively impact not only its own employees but “society in general.”

“Amazon is the great, and un-unionized white whale right of the labor movement,” he said.

“There have been some attempts to unionize workers, not only at fulfillment centers like the one here in Bessemer, but in other kind of sectors of Amazon as well,” Alvarez added. “And this is the one that you know people are most excited about because it feels like it has the most potential to win.”

Ballots for union votes were sent out early in February to the almost 6,000 employees at the Alabama Bessemer fulfillment center. The ballots must be returned by March 29.

Featured clips