Early Doors - DocFest: Union 18

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From the archive

This film was last shown on 13 June 2024

Grassroots activism lies at the heart of this involving film, which follows a group of people fighting for better working conditions at Amazon.

The opening of this powerful fly-on-the wall documentary contrasts scenes of tired-looking workers arriving at an Amazon warehouse with footage of Jeff Bezos´ rocket launch. It´s an effective and affecting juxtaposition – setting the stage for this account of the formation of the first Amazon Labor Union, led by Chris Smalls, who quit over unsafe working conditions. The film bears witness to long, tense conversations between union organisers, which are intercut with recordings of conversations surreptitiously captured inside the facility and footage of activists´ arrests. In-fighting, personality clashes and class tensions – not to mention nasty union-busting tactics – threaten progress. Story and Maing capture moments of landmark success, but the film makes clear that this is just the beginning of a long fight for the company’s 1.5 million employees.

Early Doors: Sit back and enjoy coffee, cake and the big screen at Showroom Cinema for just £8 with a special all-in-one ticket for over 55s.

Brett Story, Stephen Maing
1 hour 44 minutes


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