Warren Joins Brown, Booker, and Colleagues in Urging Amazon to Recognize Workers Seeking Union Representation Ahead of Key NLRB Vote
Senators have been pushing Amazon to do right by its workers, recently introduced PRO Act legislation to strengthen federal laws that protect workers’ right to join a union and negotiate for higher wages and better benefits
Washington, DC – Today, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) joined Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), along with a group of their colleagues, in urging Amazon to do right by its workers and support their efforts to freely exercise their right to organize a union. In a letter sent to current Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and his successor, Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy, the senators expressed support for Amazon workers seeking to organize a union with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU), and pushed the company to take this opportunity to recognize the true value of its workers to the company’s success. The letter comes ahead of an upcoming election in Bessemer, Alabama, where Amazon warehouse workers will vote on whether to form a union that will represent full and part-time workers. Rep. Andy Levin (D-Mich.) is leading a similar letter in the House.
“Amazon’s profits have soared by 70 percent over the last year, because of the hard work of your employees. They have put in long hours and risked their own health during the COVID-19 pandemic to meet increased demand, and they deserve to share in the success they have made possible. Amazon’s employees have the right to join together to bargain collectively for a voice in their workplace, and to vote to establish their rights to negotiate. They also deserve to receive the compensation, benefits, and respect that reflect their true value to the company and to their communities,” the senators wrote in the letter.
The senators also pushed the company to stop disgraceful attempts to coerce Amazon employees out of exercising their rights under the National Labor Relations Act. And, they also highlighted how the expansion of collective bargaining means workers can earn higher wages, can have more paid time off and negotiate improved healthcare coverage, which not only benefits employees, but also helps strengthen local economies, families and communities.
In addition to Senators Warren, Brown, and Booker, the letter was signed by Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and Tina Smith (D-Minn.).
This week, a group of senators reintroduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, comprehensive labor legislation to protect workers’ right to stand together and bargain for fairer wages, better benefits, and safer workplaces. Unions are critical to increasing wages and addressing growing income inequality—with studies showing that union members earn on average 19 percent more than those with similar education, occupation, and experience in a non-union workplace.
This is only the latest in a series of oversight inquiries into concerns with Amazon’s treatment of workers for which Senator Warren has pursued answers.
She recently joined a joint letter to Amazon criticizing the company’s use of surveillance technology to track workers who may be seeking to organize.
She has pressed Amazon multiple times on the high rate of worker injuries at the warehouse in Fall River, MA, most recently releasing a concerning response from the company and noting: “Amazon could take immediate action to address the injury rate at warehouses – allowing the work to slow down and ending productivity monitoring – yet the company seems unwilling to address the root causes of high injury rates at their warehouses, or acknowledge a link between productivity demands and injuries.”
Senator Warren has also sent letters regarding the company’s firing of corporate whistleblowers in May 2020.
In October 2018, Senators Warren and Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) requested information from Amazon about reports that Whole Foods, a subsidiary of Amazon, was trying to interfere with workers’ rights by tracking and monitoring employees who might seek to organize.
Next Article Previous Article