President Biden went further than he has publicly before in firmly aligning himself with the effort to unionize Amazon.
“Amazon, here we come,” Biden told a cheering audience of North America’s Building Trades Unions members Wednesday.
The President’s remarks follow the Amazon Labor Union’s election victory at one of the company’s warehouses in State Island, New York last week.
“That’s what unions are about — about providing dignity and respect for people who bust their neck,” the President said. “That’s why I created the White House task force on worker organization and empowerment to make sure the choice to join a union belongs to workers alone.”
The President then alluded to Amazon workers’ successful unionization efforts in Staten Island last week as he bluntly name-checked the e-commerce giant with his “here we come” remarks, drawing a round of applause and cheers.
In the past year, the President, who vowed on the campaign trail to be “the most pro-union president you’ve ever seen,” has made his support of unionization efforts by Amazon warehouse staffers clear.
Biden was rather forward about his support for the movement in a video he tweeted last year, amid a seven-week voting period for Amazon warehouse staffers in Alabama who were deciding whether they would like to be represented by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. The President’s outspoken endorsement of Amazon staffers’ unionization efforts back then notably went further than all recent past presidents, on both sides of the aisle.
Although the President did not explicitly call out the e-commerce giant, which actively worked to discourage its employees from supporting the union at the time, Biden alluded in his video to Amazon workers’ unionization efforts in Alabama while stressing that the choice to join unions is up to workers.
Soon after offering his support of the unionization effort by Amazon workers in Alabama, the President took his support for workers’ rights further when the White House issued a statement endorsing the Protecting the Right to Organize Act. As one of the most significant bills for the labor movement in decades, the PRO Act would remove obstacles to workers forming unions without employer interference, and would effectively end anti-union “right to work” laws.
Although the PRO Act passed in the House last year, it remains stalled in the Senate.