June 26, 2022

President Joe Biden met on Thursday with a labor chief organizing Amazon.com Inc employees and with different employee organizers hours after U.S. Senate Funds Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders slammed the web retailer at a listening to on the corporate’s labor practices.

Christian Smalls, who heads the Amazon Labor Union, stated on Twitter he had met with Biden shortly after Smalls harshly criticized Amazon on the Senate listening to. A White Home official confirmed the assembly to Reuters.

White Home press secretary Jen Psaki stated Biden dropped by to supply his assist however that he and the White Home will not be immediately participating in Amazon’s labor disputes.

“We do not have interaction or become involved immediately in particular person labor disputes,” she stated.

Employees at an Amazon warehouse in New York Metropolis just lately voted to type the primary union on the second-largest U.S. non-public employer and be a part of the Amazon Labor Union beneath the management of Smalls, a former employee who has argued for increased pay and job safety.

Final month, Biden drew loud applause at a labor occasion when he turned a highlight on Amazon.

After highlighting a authorities activity pressure on employee group he launched a yr in the past “to verify the selection to hitch a union belongs to employees alone,” Biden referred to as out Amazon on the April 6 occasion.

“And by the best way, by the best way, Amazon right here we come. Watch. Watch,” Biden stated.

Sanders stated at Thursday’s listening to that “Amazon has executed every little thing doable – authorized and unlawful – to defeat union organizing efforts.”

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However the firm gained bipartisan assist 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 stated, including he backs efforts to make it simpler for employees to unionize. “Amazon employs one million People – 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 every little thing in your energy, together with breaking the regulation, to disclaim Amazon employees the suitable to hitch a union in order that they’ll negotiate for higher wages, higher working circumstances and higher advantages?” Sanders requested. “How a lot do you want?”

Amazon didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

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 stated. “You’ll be able to have oversight hearings how you want however you identify Amazon is a chunk of crap firm. That is your political bias.”

Sean O’Brien, common president of the Worldwide Brotherhood of Teamsters, stated 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.”

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris hosted a White Home assembly with Smalls and labor leaders on Thursday looking for to signify employees at Amazon, Starbucks Corp and different employers.

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Final week, Sanders urged Biden to difficulty an govt order reducing off federal contracts to Amazon, saying the web retailer “has turn into the poster youngster for unlawful anti-union habits whereas raking in billions in federal contracts.”

Amazon employees voted in opposition to unionizing a second warehouse in New York Metropolis, a poll rely on Monday confirmed, representing a defeat for labor organizers simply weeks after they celebrated their first U.S. win on the on-line retailer.