Chicago warehouse workers and socialists gather for International Day of Solidarity

By Jason Flynn, Staff Reporter

Dozens of people gathered in Federal Plaza in downtown Chicago March 20 to show support for Amazon workers’ unionizing efforts in Bessemer, Ala.

Byron Sigcho-Lopez, alderman of Chicago’s 25th Ward, laid out some of the grievances Chicago Amazon workers have had and connected their remediation to the ongoing struggle to unionize.

“Earlier in the pandemic Amazon was misleading and misusing information. They were falsely reporting there were no cases of COVID-19 when workers were getting sick in that facility [in Pilsen],” Sigcho-Lopez said. “It’s because of the workers organizing that they were able to stop the practices in that facility.”


The Saturday speeches and march happened in conjunction with over 50 events nationwide coordinated by Support Alabama Amazon Union.

The Chicago event was organized by the Chicago Democratic Socialists of America (CDSA), Chicago Socialist Alternative (CSA) and Warehouse Workers for Justice (WWJ).

Ryan Watson, a member of CDSA and CSA, connected the union effort at Amazon to struggles for racial equity.

“By supporting the union we’re demanding that Black lives be valued” Watson said. 

According to the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), which Alabama workers are voting to potentially unionize with, about 85 percent of the workers at the Alabama facility are black and Black Lives Matter organizers have been assisting the workers’ effort to unionize. 

“A victory for the Amazon workers will be a victory for the entire working class and Black people in particular,” Watson said. 

Zoe Mueller of Colectivo Collective, a group of workers in the midst of their own union election at midwest coffee company Colectivo, compared Colectivo Collective’s unionizing experience to the Amazon effort in Bessemer. 


“Americans called low wage essential workers heroes, but we weren’t treated as such,” Muellner said. “Amazon and Colectivo workers did what every worker in America has the federally protected right to do. We campaigned to unionize.”

Melissa Vozar, a member of the Chicago Teachers Union, said the union effort in Alabama could have a ripple effect around the country. 

“This will be the first Amazon warehouse in the US to unionize,” Vozar said. “Their success would boost the confidence of workers everywhere and help reverse the decades-long decline in union membership.”

RWDSU, which represents 100,000 people around the country, said over 1000 people have reached out from other Amazon facilities around the country with an interest in unionizing. 

“They know, like we know, that if this union drive is successful that this is going to be a signal to Amazon workers across the world that Jeff Bezos can be defeated,” Vozar said. “Winning a union won’t immediately make these improvements a reality, but it would give workers the ability to struggle together to win these demands.”

Staff reporter Jason Flynn can be reached at, by phone at 872-222-7821 or on Twitter at @dejasonflynn.

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