Senior ProPublica reporter and author Alec MacGillis said Tuesday that unionization efforts such as those currently taking place at Amazon’a fulfillment center in Alabama are essential to “lift up” the working class.
While appearing on Hill.TV’s “Rising,” MacGillis said that warehouse work has grown so much in recent years that it has become a standard entry-level, low-skill job for many people.
“If this is the reality for now for hundreds of thousands of American workers, if you want to to lift up that kind of work, it’s really going to mean focusing on these warehouses and and organizing them and and kind of getting them back getting them to the point where other forms of sort of entry-level work were in in decades past,” MacGillis said, adding that manufacturing became a “stable sustainable family job” for many thanks in part to union organizing.
“The big question now is whether we can sort of do the same for this kind of warehouse work and lift it up to something that can actually support a family and not just be a low-paid job that someone kind of, you know, comes through for a year and then leaves,” MacGillis continued.
The election results on whether Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama warehouse will join the Retail, Warehouse, and Department Store Union are currently being tallied. The Bessemer warehouse has around 6,000 employees.
The effort has gained the support of Democrats including President Biden.
“Our employees know the truth — starting wages of $15 or more, health care from day one, and a safe and inclusive workplace,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement to The Hill. “We encouraged all of our employees to vote, and their voices will be heard in the days ahead.”
—Updated at 1:27 p.m.