President Joe Biden has awarded Amazon, whose chairman is billionaire Jeff Bezos, a $10 billion federal contract, despite having pledged to American union members not to reward firms suspected of union-busting practices.
Amazon has been accused of attempting to block its warehouse workers in the United States from unionizing for years, despite accusations that the company has put its employees in unsafe situations due to relentless shipping quotas.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found in August 2021 that Amazon had breached labor regulations by prohibiting its warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama from unionizing. Amazon was accused of attempting to block warehouse workers in Alabama from unionizing again in February.
Workers at one of Amazon’s Staten Island warehouses voted last month to form the company’s first labor union. The vote to unionize has been challenged by Amazon. Amazon is said to have dismissed over six of the Staten Island warehouse managers who sought to join the union after the vote.
Despite Amazon’s history of intervening in unionization attempts, according to the Lever, the Biden administration has rewarded the company with a major federal contract despite promising not to.
Biden promised throughout his campaign to prohibit companies like Amazon from gaining lucrative federal contracts after being accused of using union-busting tactics.
He promised to “ensure federal dollars do not flow to employers who engage in union-busting activities, participate in wage theft, or violate labor law.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) appeared at a warehouse workers’ union demonstration late last month but has been mute about Biden’s billion-dollar Amazon contract.
Meanwhile, Senator Bernie Sanders urged Biden not to award Amazon a federal contract, claiming that the company has “time and time again” used union-busting methods to prevent warehouse employees from organizing.
“Mr. President, it is abundantly clear that Amazon has engaged in illegal anti-union action time and time again,” Sanders wrote. “Amazon may be a large and profitable corporation, and it may be owned by one of America’s wealthiest people, but it cannot be allowed to continue to violate the law and disrespect its employees’ rights. The time has come to tell Amazon that it must follow the law if it wants another federal contract.”