U.S. Senate Price range Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders on Thursday slammed Amazon.com Inc and its chairman at a listening to on the corporate’s labor practices as he pushed the White Home to finish authorities contracts for the retailer.
“Amazon has achieved all the pieces doable – authorized and unlawful – to defeat union organizing efforts,” Sanders mentioned.
However the firm received bipartisan help on the listening to, together with from Democratic Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, a state with a big Amazon presence.
“I do not assume Amazon is an organized felony syndicate,” Kaine mentioned, including he backs efforts to make it simpler for employees to unionize. “Amazon employs 1,000,000 Individuals – not all people hates their jobs at Amazon.”
Sanders addressed Amazon Chairman Jeff Bezos, who had been invited to testify however didn’t seem.
“Given all of your wealth, how a lot do you want? Why are you doing all the pieces in your energy, together with breaking the legislation, to disclaim Amazon employees the appropriate to affix a union in order that they will negotiate for higher wages, higher working situations and higher advantages?” Sanders requested. “How a lot do you want?”
Amazon didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
The committee heard testimony from a number of folks together with Christian Smalls, who heads the Amazon Labor Union.
“Think about being a brand new rent at Amazon. Your second day, you do not even know your job task and the very first thing they do is march them into an anti-union propaganda class,” Smalls alleged.
Senator Lindsey Graham, the highest Republican on the panel, criticized Sanders for singling out Amazon. “That is an effort to get an consequence you need utilizing the USA Senate as your automobile. That is very harmful,” he mentioned. “You possibly can have oversight hearings how you want however you establish Amazon is a bit of crap firm. That is your political bias.”
Graham mentioned firms have to be allowed to specific their views about unions.
He famous that Boeing Co employees haven’t unionized in South Carolina, the place they construct the 787. “The concept that Boeing cannot argue the deserves of a right-to-work atmosphere for his or her enterprise is ridiculous and I feel patently unlawful.”
Sean O’Brien, common president of the Worldwide Brotherhood of Teamsters, mentioned one of many methods to carry Amazon accountable is for the federal government to take again contracts with firms “till they’re a accountable employer.”
Later within the day, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will host a White Home assembly with Smalls and labor leaders searching for to characterize employees at Amazon, Starbucks Corp and different employers. A White Home official mentioned the assembly goals to point out that the administration “is supportive of their efforts to empower employees.”
Final week, Sanders urged President Joe Biden to situation an govt order chopping off federal contracts to Amazon, saying the web retailer “has turn into the poster little one for unlawful anti-union habits whereas raking in billions in federal contracts.”
Employees at an Amazon warehouse in New York Metropolis not too long ago voted to kind the primary union on the second-largest U.S. personal employer and be part of the Amazon Labor Union beneath the management of Smalls, a former employee who has argued for larger pay and job safety.
Amazon employees voted in opposition to unionizing a second warehouse in New York Metropolis, a poll depend on Monday confirmed, representing a defeat for labor organizers simply weeks after they celebrated their first U.S. win on the on-line retailer.