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  • Writer's pictureIWW Ireland

Union: film review:

This very well made documentary follows the Amazon Labour Union through its attempts to organise a single New York based Amazon warehouse of about 8000 employees.

The opening of the film shows the space rocket containing Amazon’s obscenely rich founder, Jeff Bezos, successfully blasting off. This is immediately contrasted with footage of cargo ships transporting a mountain of containers, presumably for the warehouse, and footage of a literal army of workers arriving at the warehouse’s industrial estate by public transport at around 5AM.

The organisers, who start their work shifts early in the morning, or who have already been fired, spend their time outside work in a tent right by the warehouse’s perimeter fence. There, they leaflet incoming workers, give out free food and marijuana and otherwise immerse themselves in the demanding and difficult work of organising precarious workers in an extremely hostile environment.

The work will be very familiar to most active IWW members - the workplace reprisals, well-meaning but often overly enthusiastic activists, procedural obstacles, core members turning on the organising group, ideological splits, hostility from established service unions and so forth, with the occasional astounding achievements that act as a guiding light to their movement. Everything about organising, good and bad is explored in this film, without judgement.

This is an essential memoir of one of the most important organising events of recent times which does not seek to build a false, character based narrative the way many documentaries do. Instead it is an unflinching look at building a true, democratic grassroots union, one which should be essential viewing for anyone involved in union work.

FW IWW Belfast



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