Sen. Bernie Sanders demanded Tuesday that President Joe Biden cancel Amazon’s federal contracts over the e-commerce giant’s aggressive and unlawful union-busting efforts in New York, Alabama, and elsewhere, a call that came as union voting kicked off at a second Amazon facility in Staten Island.
In a letter to Biden, Sanders (I-Vt.) pointed to the president’s campaign promise to “institute a multi-year federal debarment for all employers who illegally oppose unions” and “ensure federal contracts only go to employers who sign neutrality agreements committing not to run anti-union campaigns.”
“The essence of your plan for strengthening union organizing was to make sure that federal dollars do not flow into the hands of unscrupulous employers who engage in union-busting, participate in wage theft, or violate labor law,” the Vermont senator wrote. “In order to implement that plan, I urge you to sign an executive order preventing companies that violate federal labor laws from contracting with the federal government.”
“As you may know, Amazon, one of the largest and most profitable corporations in America, is the poster child as to why this anti-union busting executive order is needed now more than ever,” Sanders added.
In a floor speech Tuesday evening, the Vermont senator declared that “no government — not the federal government, not the state government, and not the city government — should be handing out corporate welfare to union busters and labor law violators.”
“So today I say to President Biden: You promised to prevent union busters like Amazon from receiving lucrative contracts from the federal government,” said Sanders. “Please keep that promise.”
Amazon has been fined by federal agencies dozens of times over the past two decades for a range of offenses related to workers’ rights, including wage, hour, and workplace safety violations. A report released earlier this month estimated that the injury rate among Amazon’s warehouse workers rose 20% In 2021, the company spent $1 billion. $4.3 million Anti-union consultants
In recent weeks, Amazon was sued by the National Labor Relations Board for unlawfully retaliating to union organizers. other “flagrant unfair labor practices.”
In January, ahead historic union victory JFK8 reports that Amazon is working to reverse the NLRB’s formal allegations. complaint that the company “repeatedly broke the law by threatening, surveilling, and interrogating their Staten Island warehouse workers who are engaged in a union organizing campaign.”
Despite its numerous and ongoing violations, the powerful corporation continues to receive federal contracts. For example, the National Security Agency has quietly awarded Amazon Web Services offers cloud contracts worth up to $10 Billion.
Sanders, the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, argued in his letter to Biden that Amazon “should not receive” the federal contract as long as it continues to engage in “illegal anti-union activity.” Next week, Sanders is expected Preside over a hearing to determine how many federal contracts are flowing to companies like Amazon that are resisting unionization efforts.
“Since 2004, Amazon has received thousands of federal contracts worth billions of dollars,” Sanders wrote Tuesday. “Mr. President: Taxpayer dollars should not go to companies like Amazon and multi-billionaires like Jeff Bezos who repeatedly break the law.”
The Vermont senator’s demand comes as unions and lawmakers are pushing The New York Attorney General will investigate whether Amazon violated labor laws in order to invalidate its eligibility for state-level taxpayer subsidies. According to Good Jobs First, Amazon received at least $4.18 Billion in taxpayer subsidies from the state and local governments since 2000.
“If we do not stop subsidizing Amazon’s warehouses, New York state becomes complicit in subsidizing union-busting practices with taxpayer money,” New York Assemblyman Ron Kim (D-40) told The Lever Last week.