Rep. Sewell Speaks at Press Conference with RWDSU, Congressional Delegation to Support the Right of Amazon Workers in Bessemer to Unionize
March 4, 2021
Washington, D.C. - Today, Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) spoke at a press conference with RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum and Representatives Andy Levin (MI-09), Jamaal Bowman (NY-16), Cori Bush (MO-01), and Nikema Williams (GA-05) in support of Amazon employees' right to unionize in Bessemer. Below are Sewell’s remarks.
Rep. Terri Sewell: I’m Congresswoman Terri Sewell, and I am honored each and every day to represent Alabama’s 7th Congressional District. I want to thank Stuart, I want to thank the workers from Amazon, and all of the organizers from RWDSU for the courage to stand with Alabama workers.
The world is watching Alabama, and I want you to know that these workers are following a rich tradition—a tradition of civil rights and human rights of crusading against something that is wrong. This weekend, we celebrate the 56th Anniversary of Bloody Sunday in Selma, Alabama. I know that Alabama workers, like Kevin, Jennifer, and Darryl, all of these Amazon workers, stand in the same tradition as John Lewis, as Amelia Boynton Robinson, as those Foot Soldiers that dared to change the world by having the audacity to stand up for their rights.
I am welcomed today by a delegation from Congress who are standing with these workers, and we have one message. Our message is: We see you! We hear you, Alabama workers! And we are with you! We are with you!
I just want all of you to know that it is a basic human right, the right to organize, and it is in my DNA. I am the daughter of educators, and if it wasn’t for the Alabama Education Association, AEA, my mother and my father would not have been able to integrate public schools in Alabama in order to be teachers, in order to be coaches, in order to be guidance counselors.
It is important that the people of Alabama know that workers have rights. It is because of unions that we have a five day work week. It is because of unions that we have safer conditions in our places of work. It is because of unions that we have benefits.
And so, all we ask is that, free of intimidation, the people of Alabama, Amazon workers, have the right to choose whether or not they organize—free of intimidation, free of interference. That is what we want.
I want to thank my colleagues for joining me, and today I’m with four of them: Congressman Andy Levin from Michigan; Congressman Jamaal Bowman from New York; Congresswoman Nikema Williams from Georgia; and Congresswoman Cori Bush from Missouri.
We proudly stand with Alabama workers in Bessemer, Alabama because we know, we know, that standing up for the right of people to organize and collectively bargain is a God-given right for anyone who is working in America. And we look forward to going back to Congress and passing the PRO Act, which would streamline the NLRB, and stop companies from intimidating their workers.
It’s critically important that you all know that we all stand on the shoulders of John Lewis, who said if you see something that ain’t right, that’s not just, we have a moral obligation to do something about it.
So, we stand in solidarity with the workers. It’s critically important that you all know that we don’t stand alone. The world is watching Alabama once again. And, once again, my district, Birmingham and Bessemer, it is so important that the world knows that once again, Alabama is standing up for civil rights, and for human rights.
Video of Rep. Sewell’s remarks can be found here. Photos with RWDSU leadership, Amazon workers, and Reps. Levin, Bowman, Bush, and Williams can be found here.