Biden endorses Amazon workers' union election
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.
Anna Kramer is a reporter at Protocol (@ anna_c_kramer), where she helps write and produce Source Code, Protocol's daily newsletter. Prior to joining the team, she covered tech and small business for the San Francisco Chronicle and privacy for Bloomberg Law. She is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she studied International Relations and Arabic and wrote her senior thesis about surveillance tools and technological development in the Middle East.