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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Biden’s Statement on Union Election for Amazon’s AL Workers

Many presidential candidates and Democratic presidents have often made statements supporting labor unions. But no president has spoken out so compellingly in support of a fair union election, as has President Biden. Some excerpts from his unprecedented video statement supporting a fair union election for Amazon workers in Alabama:

Biden’s statement should be understood as a promise that any attempt to violate worker rights in the Amazon employee’s union election, and perhaps other union elections, will be held accountable by law – a profound departure from the practice of the previous administration.

According to CBS News:

Thousands of workers at an Amazon warehouse outside of Birmingham are voting on whether to form the company’s first labor union in the U.S. Amazon is pushing employees to vote no.

In an unprecedented video message, the president urged management to back off and let workers decide.

“The choice to join a union is up to the workers, full stop,” Mr. Biden said in the two-minute video.

Many Democrats are pro-union, but as CBS News’ Nancy Cordes reports, what made Mr. Biden’s video so surprising was that he did it to draw attention to the union fight.

Singling out the state by name, Mr. Biden told Americans, “Workers in Alabama and all across America are voting on whether to organize a union in their workplace.”

The Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama employs about 6,000 employees who are voting on whether to unionize — a bitter battle playing out at a time when the company is hiring thousands of workers every month.

“Amazon doesn’t treat their employees like people. We’re treated like we’re robots,” said warehouse employee Jennifer Bates.

Workers like Bates are constantly getting texts from Amazon, warning that union dues could leave them with less money than they already have….Anti-union flyers are even posted inside warehouse bathroom stalls.

“There should be no intimidation, no coercion, no threats, no anti-union propaganda,” the president said in his address….As he said in November 2020, days after winning the election, “I made it clear to the corporate leaders — I said, ‘I want you to know I’m a union guy.'”

Amazon’s resistance to unions is hard to accept in light of it’s prosperity during the pandemic. In 2020, the company enjoyed  “38 per cent more sales and a profit increase of no less than 84 per cent.”

Union leaders cheered Biden’s statement. “For the workers at the warehouse in Alabama, there is no question that President Biden was speaking to them,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. “The importance of the video is that it’s telling workers that no matter how much your employer is trying to intimidate you, no matter how powerful your employer may be, the President of the United States has your back.”

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