37 Groups Urge Biden to Publicly Support Amazon Unionization Efforts in Alabama

February 25, 2021 Press Release

Washington, D.C. — As Amazon workers in Bessemer, Alabama organize to establish the first Amazon union, 37 organizations, including the American Economic Liberties Project and People’s Action, sent a letter to President Biden, urging to him to publicly voice support for the unionization effort.

As the letter explains, corporate monopolies routinely leverage their market power to abuse working people, suppress their wages, and obstruct their efforts to unionize. Amazon has perfected this approach. With a monopoly in warehousing and logistics, Amazon subjects its workers to unsafe conditions, constant surveillance, and an unfair “time off task” policy that prevents workers from taking adequate breaks. Amazon has admitted to stealing at least $61.7 million in tips from Amazon delivery drivers. And though more than 20,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported in Amazon warehouses, according to the corporation’s own numbers, Amazon has cut workers’ hazard pay.

Now, as Amazon workers organize to hold the corporation accountable, it is vigorously trying to shut down the union drive. As reported by More Perfect Union, Amazon exploited its local leverage to change traffic light patterns in Bessamer so that union organizers could no longer talk to warehouse workers while they idled at red lights. Amazon also sent workers flyers to encouraging them vote against unionization, and installed mysterious mailboxes near the warehouse.

During his 2020 campaign, President Biden vowed to be “the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen.” Now, he has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make that pledge a reality by voicing his support for the brave workers in Bessemer. They deserve nothing less.

“In organizing a union, the Amazon warehouse workers of Bessemer, Alabama are directly challenging one of the world’s most powerful monopolies,” said Sarah Miller, Executive Director of the American Economic Liberties Project. “President Biden has an opportunity to stand with them. He must to make clear that all workers have the right to bargain collectively for better working conditions and pay.”

“This is a legacy defining opportunity,” People’s Action Director George Goehl said. “Visibly supporting the brave Amazon workers unionizing in Bessemer, Alabama would go a long way in building a legacy that will speak volumes now and for years to come.”

Read Economic Liberties’ “Understanding Amazon: Making the 21st-Century Gatekeeper Safe for Democracy” here.

Learn more about Economic Liberties here.

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The American Economic Liberties Project works to ensure America’s system of commerce is structured to advance, rather than undermine, economic liberty, fair commerce, and a secure, inclusive democracy. Economic Liberties believes true economic liberty means entrepreneurs and businesses large and small succeed on the merits of their ideas and hard work; commerce empowers consumers, workers, farmers, and engineers instead of subjecting them to discrimination and abuse from financiers and monopolists; foreign trade arrangements support domestic security and democracy; and wealth is broadly distributed to support equitable political power.