Left Voice - March 26, 2021

We came down from New York City to cover the historic struggle of Amazon workers to form a union and to amplify the stories of the nearly 6,000 workers who are putting their livelihoods on the line to fight for their right to collectively organize. If this union vote is successful, it will be the first union of Amazon workers in the United States. There is great potential in this union drive — an effort that is being waged by a primarily Black workforce in a virulently racist and anti-union state against one of the largest companies in the world.

We arrived at the Bessemer facility to stand in solidarity with the workers and take footage of the facility. We moved away from the small group of supporters who come out each day with signs encouraging workers to “vote yes!” on the union, just a few steps down Amazon’s long driveway to film a report in front of the entrance sign. Almost immediately, a police car pulled up next to us. The cop inside told us that we were trespassing and couldn’t film on private property. “You can’t film here!” We were nowhere near the facility, only a dozen feet from the main road. There is no signage demarcating where public land ends and Amazon’s property begins, no signs prohibiting filming or pictures.

As we began to collect our things, another cop car rushed up to where we were, lights flashing. “Stay where you are. My supervisor needs to collect your names and IDs,” the cop said. “You’re with the press? Which publication?” The two cops got out of their cars and stood close to us to make sure we didn’t move. A few minutes later, a man in a golf cart rolled up behind the police cars. He came up to us and demanded our IDs. “I need to take your names down.” When we asked why, he gave no reply. The cops demanded our IDs again and we refused. After some back and forth, they finally let us go and we walked the two steps back to where other supporters were standing by the side of the road. The cops stayed behind to keep watch.

Read full report at Left Voice