President Joe Biden shared his support for the ongoing union election for Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama and warned companies against union retaliation in a video message Sunday.
Without specifically naming the warehouse workers' union drive, Biden said: "Today and over the next few days and weeks, workers in Alabama and all across America are voting on whether to organize a union in their workplace. This is vitally important — a vitally important choice."
About 5,800 Amazon employees in Bessemer are halfway through a vote over whether to form a trade union affiliated with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. The by-mail election, arranged by the National Labor Relations Board because of the risks of coronavirus exposure associated with an in-person election, will end March 29.
"There should be no intimidation, no coercion, no threats, no anti-union propaganda," Biden said in the video. Amazon's anti-union efforts in the Bessemer drive have spanned from posters in the bathroom to text messages to an anti-union website, "doitwithoutdues.com," which originally included stock photos of happy workers.
The company also challenged the NLRB's decision to require a by-mail election; employers generally prefer in-person elections because their location and time span make it easier to monitor workers.