(Noted News) — In anticipation of a vote that could result in the first US Amazon workers union, Vermont senator Bernie Sanders joined the community organizing efforts in Alabama, endorsing the movement and showing support employees of the second biggest company in the US.
Sanders was joined by actor Danny GLover and Killer Mike in a lengthy rally in a Bessemer, Alabama warehouse with 5,800.
Sanders tweeted out his criticism of Amazon owner Jeff Bezos before his visit, asking him why he was trying to prevent his workers from standing up for themselves.
“All I want to know is why the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, is spending millions trying to prevent workers from organizing a union so they can negotiate for better wages, benefits and working conditions. If Amazon workers in Alabama can prevail in forming a union, it can be done all over this country.”
The worker’s movement spearheading the drive for an Amazon union is being commandeered by the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU), a labor union representing a wide array of industries.
RWDSU president Stuart Appelbaum stated that the drive is about “the unregulated technologies Amazon uses to monitor every movement of its workers, including the amount of time they spend in the restroom…and, most importantly, about the lack of dignity, respect, and [the] treatment too many Americans experience at work.”
Whoever runs Amazon’s Twitter page also got in on the social media spit when Senator Elizabeth Warren accused the Seattle-based tech unicorn of avoiding taxes.
“You make the tax laws @SenWarren; we just follow them, Amazon has paid billions of dollars in corporate taxes over the past few years alone.”
Warren retaliated with a snarky tweet at the company.
“I didn’t write the loopholes you exploit, @Amazon—your armies of lawyers and lobbyists did.”
“But you bet I’ll fight to make you pay your fair share. And fight your union-busting. And fight to break up Big Tech so you’re not powerful enough to heckle senators with snotty tweets.”
Amazon has been facing criticisms and rumors regarding substandard working conditions in their factories in past months, including reports of employees being forced to urinate in plastic bottles because of strict rules on bathroom breaks.
This rumor was one of over 600 complaints that came out of the UK Health and Safety Executive program in 2019, including one of pregnant women allegedly being fired for not being able to stand on their feet in the Amazon warehouses for as long as the other employees.
Amazon has said that “nobody would work for us” if these rumors were true, and the company’s CEO Dave Clark has since been vocal about the allegations, taking jabs at Bernie Sanders.
“I often say we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that’s not quite right because we actually deliver a progressive workplace for our constituents: a $15 minimum wage, health care from day one, career progression, and a safe and inclusive work environment,” Clark said.
“So if you want to hear about $15 an hour and health care, Senator Sanders will be speaking downtown. But if you would like to make at least $15 an hour and have good health care, Amazon is hiring.”
Amazon’s official news account tweeted:
“You don’t really believe the peeing in bottles thing, do you?”
“The truth is that we have over a million incredible employees around the world who are proud of what they do, and have great wages and health care from day one.”
James Bloodworth, author of “Hired: Six Months Undercover in Low-Wage Britain,” claims to be the one who started the rumor when he found the pee-bottle doing research for a book. He said, “I was the person who found the pee in the bottle. Trust me, it happened.”