In an originate letter, senator Bernie Sanders urges the US president to fulfil a campaign promise to stop union-busting corporations from successful federal government contracts


Sebastian Klovig Skelton ,
Senior reporter

Published: 28 Apr 2022 12: 06

US senator Bernie Sanders has written to president Joe Biden in the wake of the first profitable unionisation effort of Amazon workers in the US, urging him to fulfil a campaign promise and stop corporations engaged in unlawful anti-union activities from receiving federal contracts.

Amazon workers on the JFK8 warehouse – a vital Amazon fulfilment centre in Staten Island, Modern York that employs bigger than 8,300 of us – voted to unionise on 1 April 2022, forcing the e-commerce giant to formally recognise a replace union of its workers in the US for the first time.

Biden beforehand expressed improve for unionisation on 6 April, all over the North The united states’s Constructing Trades Unions conference, announcing: “The change to be a part of a union belongs to workers alone. By the style, Amazon, right here we advance. Look.”

Requested by reporters whether Biden turned into once particularly endorsing the JFK8 unionisation effort, White Condo press secretary Jen Psaki said: “What he turned into once conveying turned into once his long-time improve for collective bargaining, for the rights of workers to organise, and their decision to reach exactly that on this case.”

Real by his presidential campaign, Biden additionally promised to “institute a multi-yr federal debarment for all employers who illegally oppose unions,” in addition to “be obvious federal contracts only scuttle to employers who signal neutrality agreements committing no longer to scamper anti-union campaigns”.

In an originate letter dated 26 April, Sanders advised Biden to signal an executive expose preventing corporations that violate federal labour laws from successful contracts with the US federal government, announcing: “At a time of giant income and wealth inequality, we need to manufacture the replace union motion in The united states and enable extra workers to discover in collective bargaining.”

Sanders added that, as one of the very best and most profitable US corporations, Amazon is “the poster child” for why an anti-union-busting executive expose is urgently wished. “According to filings with the US Department of Labor, Amazon spent over $4m on consultants closing yr alone in an effort to stop its warehouses from unionising,” he said. “As fraction of their unlawful anti-union exercise, they pressured workers to lend a hand closed-door anti-union conferences and discriminated against pro-union workers.

“After workers in Staten Island, Modern York voted overwhelmingly to be a part of the self sustaining Amazon Labor Union, Amazon has no longer only refused to negotiate a major contract with them, but refuses to recognise that the union exists, even supposing the National Labor Relations Board licensed their union victory.”

The senator and conventional presidential candidate extra added that Amazon has been penalised by bigger than $75m for breaking federal discrimination and wage laws, is on the second being sued by the National Labor Relations Board for unlawful anti-union retaliation, and has 59 unfair labour word cases on the second originate against it.

“Amazon’s insufficient office security policies additionally pose grave risks to workers,” said Sanders. “In some cases, their office harm rates are bigger than 2.5 instances the business reasonable. Final December, six Amazon workers died after they had been required to continue working all over unsafe weather conditions in a warehouse that didn’t be pleased appropriate security products and companies or policies.”

Laptop Weekly contacted the White Condo in regards to the letter, but acquired no response. Nonetheless, an unnamed White Condo official told Politico that the president “has said consistently and firmly that every worker in every narrate must be pleased a free and beautiful change to be a part of a union and the correct to cut rate collectively with their employer”.

The official added that Biden takes the opinion that “there wants to be no intimidation, no coercion, no threats, and no anti-union propaganda from employers whereas workers are making that vitally vital change a couple of union”.

Laptop Weekly additionally contacted Amazon, but additionally acquired no response by the time of publication.

In the UK, a June 2021 ballotby union Unite showed that the British public is largely supportive of replace union recognition for Amazon workers, with a majority supporting measures that can block the e-commerce giant from securing public sector contracts until the company offers fairer work practices.

UK-primarily based totally replace unions said in October 2020 that public sector consumers at each native and national government phases must exercise their whisper relationships with Amazon to compel the e-commerce giant into bettering work conditions.

“Each and each central and native government wants to be maintaining Amazon to tale, guaranteeing its business mannequin doesn’t harm workers and communities,” wrote the Trades Union Congress and the GMB of their joint Consuming Amazon document. “But at most up-to-date, as a change of anxious that Amazon does greater, government in the UK is failing to concern its quite about a detrimental business practices, either due to they lack the tools to reach so or the willingness to act.”

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