March 19, 2021
    NLG LEC Statement in Support of Amazon Workers in Alabama

    Solidarity Statement in Support of Amazon Workers in Alabama 

    By the National Lawyers Guild Labor and Employment Committee

    On this International Day Against Amazon Union Busting, the Labor & Employment Committee of the National Lawyers Guild (NLG-LEC), and the Alabama Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild, enthusiastically support the over 5,000 workers at the Amazon “Fulfillment Center” (warehouse) in Bessemer, Alabama as they vote to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and DepartmentStoreUnion.Voting began in February and continues through March 29.

    As the Organizing Committee of the union campaign (BAmasonunion.org) says, and as we know, when workers come together to form a union, they win dignity and respect at work. Without a union, Amazon warehouse workers, have been subjected to conditions that violate workplace standards on health and safety, common dignity, and fundamental human rights.

    The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and made worse pre-existing issues. Amazon provided only limited and inadequate protection for its workers at the start of the COVID pandemic, restricted the ability of workers to take bathroom breaks, and demanded punishing working speeds. More recently, Amazon has held captive-audience meetings to discourage unionization and continually interfered with workers’ ability to engage with organizers and supporters. In one example, on a day when community was rallying in support of the workers, Amazon released employees an hour early in a transparent effort to keep them from having any exchange with supporters or to see the support the union drive has in the community.

    Despite these efforts, the workers have only continued to gain momentum in their fight to for union representation. As members of a union, workers will have a voice that, individually they will not, to ensure the terms and conditions of their work meet their human needs.

    Co-Chair of the Alabama NLG Chapter and former NLG President, David Gespass, of Birmingham made the following statement:

    “If Amazon's claim that most of its employees do not want a union were anything but a lie, it would not be paying thousands of dollars a day to union-busting consultants."

    We demand that Amazon respect the rights of the workers, stop union-busting, and cease its anti- union activities, including its intimidation of workers. Amazon workers deserve, at a bare minimum, a fair vote, without threats and union-avoidance tactics. President Biden said recently, when voting on whether to organize, “[I]t’s a vitally important choice – one that should made without intimidation or threats by the employer.” We unequivocally support the Amazon workers of Bessemer, Alabama, in their fight to unionize.

    To join a mobilization near you on March 20 for the International Day of Solidarity With Alabama Amazon Workers & Against Union Busting on World Day Against Racism, please visit https://supportamazonworkers.org/march20/

    Since 1937, the National Lawyers Guild has provided legal support to movements for social change, principally on a volunteer basis. In the 1930s the Guild focused on workers' rights, supporting New Deal legislation to assist working people and the unemployed in the 1950s the Guild defended labor leaders and others attacked for their progressive political views. The Labor & Employment Committee focuses on struggles for economic and social justice. Then and now, the Guild L&EC actively supports progressive labor and employment law struggles. The L&EC is comprised of over a thousand labor and employment attorneys across the country. The Alabama Chapter has over 30 members, including attorneys and legal workers.

    November 7, 2020
    NLG LEC Election Response Statement

    Workers and Unions Must Remain Vigilant to Prevent Trump from Delegitimizing the Election and Stop Trump’s Desired “Coup”

    By the National Lawyers Guild Labor and Employment Committee

    Now that Biden and Harris have won a decisive victory, not only in the popular vote but in the electoral college, it is more important than ever for workers and their organizations to remain vigilant and not de-mobilize while making sure every vote is counted.

    We only have to look back 20 years, to the 2000 election, for a successful judicial coup in a U.S. Presidential election. In Bush v. Gore, a Supreme Court that was far less conservative than today’s court invented an equal protection theory out of whole cloth to stop vote counting in Florida, the decisive state, which the Democrat Al Gore would otherwise have won. It is important to remember the Republicans organized people to storm the election counting offices and intimidate the workers. They acted to preserve George W. Bush’s razor-thin and disappearing margin. The Supreme Court, upon which Democrats wrongly pinned their hopes, just made it official. As a result, we got 9/11, the Iraq war, Guantanamo, and an unending “war on terror” whose violent consequences we are still living -- and dying -- with.

     Today, we have not only a far more conservative court, but an authoritarian President who has shown he cares only for his personal interests and will stop at nothing to avoid losing. We have Republicans in Congress and state legislatures and governors’ mansions who will echo and enable any lie or atrocity to preserve Trump’s power and thereby, they believe, their own.

    Let us be clear. All the evidence we have seen points to an election and statewide counts that are accurate and have been conducted without fraud. All of the legally and morally questionable maneuvering we are aware of has been by Republicans, who have engaged in unprecedented voter suppression, yet failed to stop the will of the people from being expressed at the ballot box.

    Yet facts, the truth, and morality itself have no influence on the actions of Trump and his enablers. They have already turned to the courts, and rest assured they will also turn to  Republican-controlled state governments in the battleground states to try to overturn the will of the people.

    We have reviewed the most high profile cases of the hundreds filed by Republicans to try to overturn the election results, and none of them have any likelihood of success before an honest judge. Stopping the count won’t help Donald Trump now. The news organizations called Pennsylvania because Biden’s lead is unassailable even without mail-in ballots that were postmarked by but arrived after election day. Michigan and Wisconsin have already been called for Biden and the margins are too big for recounts to change the result. The same will soon be true of Georgia and Nevada. But none of this will stop the Trump campaign from throwing up every invented fact and legal theory they can, in hopes of getting one or more cases before a Supreme Court they believe they control.

    Because their legal claims have no merit, Trump and his enablers are trying to foster a false public narrative that delegitimizes the election results, to create a climate in which friendly judges and legislators feel safe to bend or break the law and the truth to preserve and consolidate the power of their “Dear Leader” and themselves.

    In such a climate, we must be active participants in creating a public narrative that effectively defends the will of the people and shows the would-be dictator the door. We can look to examples like the 3 day labor/anti-racist/left dance party outside the Philadelphia Convention Center, where votes were being counted, that helped deter a right wing attack.  This approach avoids the 2000 election mistake of simply “trusting the process,” but instead becoming actively engaged with groups (some of which are listed at the end of this article) that are strategically protecting the election results, and, if necessary,  participating in their calls for massive, non-violent direct action and general and/or rolling strikes.

    On December 14, electors meet in each state to cast their ballots for president. On January 6, the U.S. House and Senate meet jointly to certify the vote of the electoral college, and on January 20, the winner of the electoral college is sworn in as President. Prior to December 14, states will designate their electors. In “normal” times, those electors perform only the ministerial function of casting a vote conforming to the outcome of the popular vote in their state (or in the cases of parts of Nebraska and Maine, their Congressional District).  But in the battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, Republicans control the state legislatures, while Democrats are the governors. In both Georgia and Arizona, Republicans have a “trifecta,” meaning the Governor is Republican and they control both houses of the state legislature. 

    It is important to prepare for the (hopefully unlikely) possibility that Republican leaders will attempt a coup via the electoral college, using electors who do not respect the outcome of the vote in these battleground states. This is particularly so given that Trump will continue to foster, and his followers will believe, a public narrative that challenges the legitimacy of the election outcome in these states. Protests triggered by that narrative, some violent, have already erupted, supported by far-right groups and Trump-loving police. Battleground states could end up with competing slates of electors in the states with divided governments, or a single slate that decides to disregard the will of the voters in the Trifecta states. Although Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, and Wisconsin have laws that disregard the votes of and/or punish so-called “faithless electors,” Pennsylvania and Georgia do not. The head of the Pennsylvania Republican Party has refused to rule out such a course of action. 

    In this environment, we must not succumb to the narcotic belief “that it can’t happen here.” It has and it can again. It is imperative for every worker, every union member and leader, to step up and participate in the movement to defend our democracy, not just in the courts but in the streets. And not just for this election, but for the long haul, to eliminate racist voter suppression, gerrymandering, and other barriers to voting that give us among the lowest voter turnout in the developed world, and prevent progress towards real democracy.  NLG chapters throughout the country, as always, will be there to provide legal observers and support to demonstrators and activists.

    We urge all unions to mobilize their members, and all workers to sign up right now to support the following groups, which along with many others are mobilizing people to protect the results of our election: