Despite campaign promises and puff piece photo ops to align himself with blue-collar workers, President Joe Biden’s backroom deals have revealed him to be aligned with anti-union corporations to the tune of $10 billion.
Workers in Amazon warehouses across the country have been taking part in efforts to unionize and, until recently, they have proven unsuccessful. The defiant effort by one Staten Island, N.Y. location to achieve that end was met by retaliation from the Jeff Bezos-run retail giant, and thus underscored Biden’s hypocrisy in awarding lucrative contracts to them.
Near the end of April, Nextgov reported that the National Security Agency (NSA) was re-awarding a previously undisclosed contract with Amazon Web Services (AWS) for $10 billion. A spokesperson for the NSA said, “NSA recently awarded a contract to Amazon Web Services that delivers cloud computing services to support the agency’s mission. This contract is a continuation of NSA’s Hybrid Compute Initiative to modernize and address the robust processing and analytical requirements of the agency.”
This action flies in the face of Biden’s repeated pledges to, “institute a multi-year federal debarment for all employers who illegally oppose unions, building on debarment efforts pursued in the Obama-Biden Administration.”
“He will ensure federal contracts only go to employers who sign neutrality agreements committing not to run anti-union campaigns,” Biden’s campaign promised throughout the 2020 presidential election. “He also will only award contracts to employers who support their workers, including those who pay a $15 per hour minimum wage and family sustaining benefits. The tax dollars of hard-working families should not be used to damage the standard of living of those same families.”
According to The Lever, this contract was awarded only a few days before a second Staten Island Amazon warehouse had failed in achieving its bid to unionize by a two-to-one margin. Those efforts were actively stymied by Amazon which responded to the first unionization by saying, “We’re disappointed with the outcome of the election in Staten Island because we believe having a direct relationship with the company is best for our employees. We’re evaluating our options, including filing objections based on the inappropriate and undue influence by the [National Labor Relations Board (NLRB)] that we and others (including the National Retail Federation and U.S. Chamber of Commerce) witnessed in this election.”
Amazon’s opposition to the prospect of unionization was so strong that it was even reported that a proposed internal messaging app would prohibit the use of language that would allow for its employees to discuss such actions through the service.
Today, I met with grassroots worker organizers to thank them for their leadership in organizing unions. From the Amazon Labor Union to IATSE at Titmouse Productions, these folks are inspiring a movement of workers across the country to fight for the pay and benefits they deserve. pic.twitter.com/QZwdUEX3Xp
— President Biden (@POTUS) May 5, 2022
Meanwhile, as the president schmoozes with organizers for the Amazon Labor Union on the same day they testified before Congress, even Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) is calling Biden out as a hypocrite.
“Today,” the senator said in a statement last week, “I am renewing my request to President Biden to fulfill that [campaign] promise. President Biden, more than any other president in modern American history, has talked over and over again about being pro-union – and I appreciate the President’s words and know him to be sincere on this issue. In my view, however, the time for talk is over.”
“The time for action is now. Taxpayer dollars should not go to companies like Amazon who repeatedly break the law. 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.”
Sanders had noted that the NLRB had found Amazon was guilty of “flagrant disregard” of the law pertaining to “free and fair union elections” in the contested effort in Bessemer, AL bringing their total number of unfair labor cases up to 59. Furthermore, as CNBC reported, Amazon had avoided paying federal income taxes for years, and when they finally did it was a mere fraction of their pre-tax reported income.
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