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Biden supports Amazon workers holding union vote: 'The choice is up to the workers, full stop'

As a historic Amazon union vote gets underway in Alabama, President Joe Biden expressed his support for workers' right to unionize.

Biden supports Amazon workers holding union vote: 'The choice is up to the workers, full stop'
Image Source: President Biden Address The Nation On His Coronavirus Relief Package. WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 27. (Photo by Samuel Corum-Pool/Getty Images)

In a video posted to Twitter, United States President Joe Biden threw support behind workers unionizing. Although he did not mention the company by name, it was evident that he was referring to Amazon. Employees at the e-retail giant Amazon are holding a milestone vote on unionizing. For several years now, the company has quashed attempts to unionize. However, after historic demonstrations by workers, a vote is finally underway. The president referenced workers in Alabama, where the union election is currently taking place at an Amazon facility in Bessemer. Workers who are eligible are casting their votes by mail in order to decide whether to form the firm's first union based in the country, CNN reports.



"Today and over the next few days and weeks, workers in Alabama, and all across America, are voting on whether to organize a union in their workplace," President Biden states in the video. "There should be no intimidation, no coercion, no threats, no anti-union propaganda. No supervisor should confront employees about their union preferences. You know, every worker should have a free and fair choice to join a union. The law guarantees that choice." He argued that America was built not by Wall Street, but by the middle class. He affirms, "Unions built the middle class."



Listing the benefits of establishing unions, such as guaranteeing health and safety, ensuring higher wages, and preventing racial discrimination and sexual harassment, Biden expresses the importance of unions as a method of "lifting up workers, both union and non-union, but especially Black and Brown workers." He also reiterates his administration's support for the right to organize and collectively bargain. Additionally, he reflects on the language of that National Labor Unions Act, which he claimed did not just "allow" unions, rather, encouraged them. "It's not up to me to decide whether anyone should join a union," he states. "It's not up to an employer to decide that either. The choice to join a union is up to the workers, full stop."



The president's remarks come as a scathing response to Amazon's recent attempts at suppressing the voices of protesting employees. On more than one occasion, the company has tried to silence frustrated workers, docking pay and even terminating those who refuse to remain quiet in the face of severe discrimination and hazardous work environments. According to previous reports, workers were confronted with anti-union signage on the bathroom stalls when using the toilet, and even an anti-union website that warns against paying dues. It reads, "Don't buy that dinner, don't buy those school supplies, don't buy those gifts because you won't have that almost $500 you paid in dues."



Given this context, Biden's video was well-received, particularly by Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union, which is conducting the union drive for Amazon workers at the Bessemer facility. He thanked Biden for his words and affirmed in a statement, "As President Biden points out, the best way for working people to protect themselves and their families is by organizing into unions. And that is why so many working women and men are fighting for a union at the Amazon facility in Bessemer, Alabama."


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