England, Wales and Scotland section of International Socialist Alternative

“Don’t back down”: Seattle Councilmember Kshama Sawant sends SOLIDARITY to UK Amazon workers

Want to unionise? We can link you up with experienced trade union organisers, and put you in touch with people who’ve successfully won union rights in Amazon in the States. We want to do whatever we can to support workers organising and fighting back. Get in touch here!

“My name is Kshama Sawant. I am a member of Socialist Alternative, which is a nationwide organisation here in the United States and which is in solidarity with Socialist Alternative in England, Wales, and Scotland. I’ve also been elected four times to the Seattle City Council here in the Pacific Northwest and our office has represented working people now for nearly nine years. 

Socialist Alternative and I are inspired by the courage of Amazon workers in Tilbury, Coventry, and Bristol who walked out this weekend to protest against the shockingly insulting 35p wage increase. As a temporary Amazon worker said, “It’s like a spit in the face, getting 35p.” 

Jeff Bezos and other executives and shareholders have become obscenely rich by exploiting workers and carrying out anti-union tactics. Enough is enough. Socialist Alternative and I stand with Amazon workers who are rising up and fighting back across continents. Here in the United States, Socialist Alternative members, and my City Council office, are actively in support of Amazon warehouse workers fighting to unionise and win strong contracts. 

If you are an Amazon warehouse worker in the UK or even if you’re not but are looking for a way to get organized with your fellow workers and other young people, I urge you to get in touch with Socialist Alternative activists in your city. Our members are working class and young people like yourself. Both in the UK and in the US, Socialist Alternative brings forward a class struggle based approach, which understands that the bosses under the capitalist system are not and will never be on our side, that they will always put their insatiable greed for wealth above workers’ needs. 

If workers want to win, we have to get organised independently of the bosses or their political representatives. The workplace action which you already have begun on the basis of inspiring and uniting tens of thousands of our fellow workers around concrete demands like inflation-adjusted living wages sets an example. 

It was this kind of strategy that allowed the workers at the JFK warehouse on Staten Island and the Amazon Labor Union in New York to win their union vote earlier this year. As you know, Seattle happens to be the corporate headquarters of the Amazon Corporation. Socialist Alternative has used our elected position here to help the fightback of warehouse workers and also helped lead social movements that have directly challenged the bosses in Seattle. 

For example, in 2020, at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement, we won the Amazon tax: a tax of $214m a year paid by the city’s richest corporations, like Amazon and Starbucks, to fund affordable housing and climate programs. Not surprisingly, Bezos and other Amazon executives ruthlessly opposed this tax. We were able to win only because we built a rank and file-led, fighting Tax Amazon movement. 

Because I take home only the average workers wage and donate the rest of my six-figure city council salary into a workers’ solidarity fund. I was able to donate $20,000 to the Amazon Labor Union. Now workers and activists here, we are reinvigorated by your struggle. Don’t back down. 

Capitalism is a global system, and can only be countered by workers uniting in international solidarity. It is especially important that we build this fightback right now as the ruling class, the billionaires, get ready to put the burden of the economic crisis, the crisis in their system, the unprecedented inflation, on the shoulders of working people on all continents. We wish you all the best, and thank you.”


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