Biden’s Been Awfully Quiet About Amazon Workers Trying to Unionize.

For a “union man” the President hasn’t expressed a lot of support for workers in Alabama attempting to organize.

Lauren Elizabeth
Feb 27 · 3 min read
Matt Slocum / AP

Throughout the entirety of his campaign for the Presidency, Joe Biden was often caught portraying himself to potential voters as a man who came from a humble background. Born in Scranton, Pennsylvania and living there until the age of ten when his family moved to Delaware, Biden made the political calculation that it was inn his best interest to remind voters of his home state and the industrial midwest on more than one occasion that he’s a “union guy”. In fact, during his first campaign event in April of 2019, Biden made sure to mention that he was a “union man”, and in August of last year Biden expressed his belief to union members that they built America, not Wall Street. But as is so often the case when career politicians like Joe Biden reach the position they were looking for, the positions oftentimes seem to change or in the very least, soften.

For someone who has reminded voters on numerous occasions of how much he theoretically supports unions, Joe Biden has had precious little — if anything at all — to say about warehouse employees of one of the largest and most infamous companies in the world attempting to organize their workplace in the state of Alabama.

It’s no secret that Amazon has not reacted well to workers in their Bessemer, Alabama warehouse deciding to hold a vote on forming a union. If workers vote in favor of a union, it would be the first Amazon warehouse in all fifty states to unionize, so it should come as no surprise that Amazon is taking extraordinary measures to ensure the outcome works out in their favor. The company is texting employees at the warehouse up to five times a day, forcing them into anti-union meetings, putting anti-union messaging up in restrooms, and even pressuring the town to change traffic light patterns in an effort to harm organizing efforts.

Among Democratic lawmakers who have weighed in, none have been more outspoken than Bernie Sanders, who has shared multiple messages of support for the worker and organizers on his social media platforms this week alone. Considering what these people in Bessemer, Alabama are up against, taking on one of the largest corporate conglomerates in the entire world, they need all the support they can get in the midst of all the propaganda, confusion, and intimidation. Unfortunately, that makes President Biden’s silence even more noticeable.

This is an opportunity for the President to show the American people — in a nation where labor rights have been decimated — that he means what he says, and Biden refuses to take it.

With the amount of courage these Amazon employees are exhibiting in this effort, the least Biden could do is publicly express his support. But can we really be surprised that he hasn’t? Before he was elected Biden promised a room full of Wall Street executives that nothing would fundamentally change, and thus far that seems to be one of the only campaign promises he has kept. The President is all too aware of what a successful unionization effort in one of Amazon’s U.S. warehouses could spark, and the way it could inspire other Amazon Warehouses and perhaps even workers from other companies to unionize as well.

The last thing Biden wants to do is upset the corporate overlords, Amazon certainly being included.

What other conclusion can we come to? After all, there are no silly little logistics or process hurtles for him to hide behind. This has nothing to do with the implementation of policy. Biden is silent because he is more concerned about upsetting Amazon Executives and the PACs they donated to that got him elected. Of course, I’m sure there’s also the added layer that the center-right President doesn’t actually want the workers to unionize anyways.

All that said, Amazon’s Bessemer employees’ votes will be counted by late March. Unionization would send a loud and clear message to not only Amazon but our lawmakers that the American people have strength in numbers, and are not afraid to take matters into our own hands if they refuse to do their part in improving the conditions for the masses.

Dialogue & Discourse

News and ideas worthy of discourse.

Lauren Elizabeth

Written by

Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at LaurenMartinchek@gmail.com or Twitter @xlauren_mx

Dialogue & Discourse

News and ideas worthy of discourse. Fundamentally informative and intelligently analytical.

Lauren Elizabeth

Written by

Lauren is a writer & leftist with analysis on topics related to politics & policy. She can be reached at LaurenMartinchek@gmail.com or Twitter @xlauren_mx

Dialogue & Discourse

News and ideas worthy of discourse. Fundamentally informative and intelligently analytical.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store