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California Faculty Association @ Long Beach Statement in Solidarity with Amazon Workers and Condemnation of Amazon’s Union Busting Tactics

 

The California Faculty Association, Long Beach (CFA@LB) as an affiliate of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is in solidarity with the 5,800 Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama who are currently undergoing a union vote amidst Amazon’s anti-union activities. CFA@LB condemns Amazon’s union busting tactics and deplorable treatment of the predominately Black warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, and its mistreatment of warehouse and delivery drivers throughout the world. CFA@LB stands with our union siblings in the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU).

Amazon is the second largest private employer in the United States and the world’s most valuable corporation. Amazon is also strongly opposed to unions and is mobilizing its vast resources to thwart this historic union vote in order to keep the company union-free in the United States. By mid-2020, Amazon’s market cap increased to $1.58 trillion (surpassing Microsoft) as demand for its services surged during the pandemic prompting Amazon to hire over 500,000 workers. As the global death toll from the pandemic neared one million deaths, Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s former CEO, became the first person in world history to amass a personal net worth of over $200 billion. In stark contrast to Amazon’s unprecedented profiteering for its mostly white-male executives and shareholders, its blue-collar workforce is disproportionately Black and Latinx. Amazon’s warehouse and misclassified delivery drivers continue to do all of the hard labor to ensure Amazon packages are processed and delivered on time, yet they are mistreated and disrespected by management. Amazon’s warehouse workers endure a relentless pace of work under constant surveillance in order to meet productivity quotas and performance metrics. Amazon’s “time off task” system tracks its workers productivity in order to ensure workers “make rate” which contributes to alarmingly high injury rates, stress, and substandard working conditions. Such mistreatment has prompted workers to organize for better working conditions and union representation.

CFA@LB is a social justice driven, anti-racist labor union representing over 2,500 faculty, librarians, coaches, and counselors. As a union, we support the right of all workers who are seeking to better their working conditions. We also oppose the increasing privatization of public higher education and Amazon’s rapid encroachment into the CSU system, including the opening of Amazon Campus stores (i.e. the “Amazon at the Beach” store at Cal State Long Beach) along with the widespread use of Amazon Web Services (AWS) at CSU campuses. AWS, the world’s largest cloud provider, powers Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) along with other state agencies and law enforcement entities that criminalize our students and union members.

As a labor union, we understand the divide and conquer strategies that management employs, and we support our union siblings in the RWDSU and our fellow workers at Amazon in their efforts to secure safe working conditions and fair and just compensation. As faculty in the CSU, we also know that many of our students and their families work in Amazon warehouse facilities or as Amazon “gig” delivery drivers in light of Amazon being one of the largest private employers in our state. We advocate for all of our students and their families to have access to good jobs that are free from dehumanizing working conditions, including racism, sexism, and all forms of discrimination in the workplace.

In Solidarity

CFA@LB