On Sunday evening, President Joe Biden launched a message of support for unionizing Amazon workers in Alabama, whereas sternly denouncing anti-union efforts by employers. The message comes within the midst of a contentious union election at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer. And whereas Biden stopped wanting an express endorsement of the fledgling Bessemer union, he was broadly captivated with the advantages of collective bargaining.
“I made it clear throughout my marketing campaign that my coverage could be to assist unions organizing and the correct to collectively cut price,” Biden mentioned within the assertion. “I’m protecting that promise.”
It’s uncommon for a sitting president to publicly assist a union drive, and the assertion is cautious to not direct staff to vote in favor of unionization, as such statements would possibly violate labor regulation. Biden by no means names Amazon straight within the assertion, though he does straight title Alabama warehouse staff. He additionally denounces anti-union efforts in a means many will see as aimed on the firm.
“There must be no intimidation,” Biden says within the video, “no coercion, no threats, no anti-union propaganda.”
The Retail, Wholesale and Division Retailer Union (RWDSU), which is organizing the Bessemer worksite, applauded the assertion. “As President Biden factors out, the easiest way for working folks to guard themselves and their households is by organizing into unions,” mentioned RWDSU president Stuart Appelbaum in a statement. “And that’s the reason so many working ladies and men are combating for a union on the Amazon facility in Bessemer, Alabama.”
Amazon has been aggressive in its efforts to forestall the warehouse from unionizing, inundating Alabama staff with textual content messages and worksite posters warning of the downsides of unionization. Final week, staff noticed anti-union adverts operating on Amazon-owned Twitch, though Twitch withdrew the adverts as soon as their existence was made public. In one other incident, Amazon labored with county officers to change the timing on a stoplight close to the warehouse, making it more durable for organizers to strategy staff as they left the positioning.
In some cases, these efforts have provoked a backlash in opposition to the corporate. Final week, Amazon’s VP overseeing labor and employment regulation abruptly resigned from the American Structure Society, a liberal authorized group that had not too long ago appointed him to a three-year time period. A coalition of members had called for his resignation in December, citing Amazon’s response to a walkout at a Staten Island warehouse final yr.
Amazon didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.