Help Us Cover Landmark Union Election at Amazon in Alabama

Amazon workers protest as they seek to unionize at JFK8 in Staten Island (Jennifer Conley/Common Dreams)

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Beginning in a little over a week on February 8th, more than 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in the suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama will begin voting in one of the most important union elections in decades. 

If they’re successful, they’ll be the first Amazon warehouse to form a union in the U.S. 

We hope to be there on the ground covering what will be one of the most significant breakthroughs of union organizing in the South in the last 40 years: a victory at Amazon in Birmingham. 

We’re asking today for your support and donations as we report this story. 

In 2014, after covering the defeat of the UAW by a mere 23 votes at Volkswagen in Chattanooga, I moved down South and founded Payday Report to cover what I knew was growing support for unions in the South, and for the stories that I knew were being ignored by most of the mainstream media. 

Following defeats of union drives at Volkswagen in Chattanooga in 2014 and 2019, as well as Nissan in Canton, Miss. in 2017, unions have been hesitant to heavily invest in expensive organizing campaigns in the South. However, a win by the RWDSU at Amazon would likely open the door to unions investing much more in efforts to organize the South.

Over the last five years, we have had unions in the South make tremendous organizing breakthroughs. In 2016, Payday reported on how more than 900 workers voted to unionize with the IBEW at Electrolux in Memphis in 2016. In 2020, over 1,800 nurses in Asheville, North Carolina voted to unionize at Mission Hospitals. 

We know this election will be an important story to cover, but we know it’ll be expensive to cover, too. 

Every donation (small or large) counts and helps us build momentum to crowdfund even more money. 

We’ll need to rent a car from Pittsburgh and drive down there, and stay in separate Airbnb rentals to reduce the risk of Covid infection. We’ll also need to cover food costs for several weeks, and if we can raise enough, Payday hopes to hire a local freelance videographer based in Birmingham to assist with capturing workers’ stories firsthand. 

Donate today to help us travel to Birmingham and cover this exciting story of one of the largest union elections in a generation. 

Our goal is to raise $3,000, and as soon as we can, we’ll make the trip down South safely to begin doing a series of stories to begin covering the landmark union election at Amazon. 

So if you can, donate today to help us cover the union election at Amazon in Alabama. Please email us [email protected] and let us know what stories you want Payday when we are down in Alabama. 

The mail-in ballot election will last approximately seven weeks starting February 8 and lasting until March 29. 

Remember, the best way to support this type of labor reporting is to sign up as one of Payday’s more than 550 recurring donors today. Thank you for all of your donations and support.

Love & Solidarity, 


About the Author

Mike Elk
Mike Elk is an Emmy-nominated labor reporter and alumni of the Guardian. In addition to filing nearly 2,000 stories from 46 states, Elk traveled with Lula from Sáo Bernando do Campos all the way to the Oval Office in the White House. Credited by the Washington Post for being the first reporter to track the strike wave systematically, Elk started Payday Report using his NLRB settlement from being illegally fired for union organizing in 2015. He lives in his hometown of Pittsburgh and works frequently in Rio de Janeiro, where he attended college at PUC-Rio. He speaks both Portuguese and Pittsburghese fluently. His email is [email protected]

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