Tonite, President Joe Biden released a video voicing his support for unionization efforts including those at Amazon in Alabama, where 6,000 workers are voting this month on whether to unionize.
“Today and over the next few days and weeks, workers in Alabama and all across America are voting on whether to organize a union in their workplace,” Biden said on a video posted to twitter. “This is vitally important — a vitally important choice, as America grapples with the deadly pandemic, the economic crisis and the reckoning on race — what it reveals is the deep disparities that still exist in our country.”
Biden asserted in his comments that the federal government had a role in helping to promote unionization in the US.
“You should all remember that the National Labor Relations Act didn’t just say that unions are allowed to exist, it said that we should encourage unions,” said Biden.
Biden also took a step to denounce some of the union busting tactics that companies including Amazon regularly use to bust unions.
“There should be no intimidation, no coercion, no threats, no anti-union propaganda. No supervisor should confront employees about their union preferences,” said Biden.
Labor historians hailed the speech as a landmark turning point in how presidents help unions.
“Politicians always give great speeches at union conventions and avoid union organizing campaigns because of the possibility of failure. But Biden broke this norm,” tweeted University of California Santa Barbara labor historian Nelson Lictenstein.
RWDSU, which is seeking to unionize workers at Amazon in Alabama, welcomed the statement.
“Thank you, President Biden, for sending clear message support for the BAmazon Union workers seeking to bring the first union to an Amazon warehouse with RWDSU,” said RWDSU president Stuart Applbaum in a statement. “As President Biden points out, the best way for working people to protect themselves and their families is by organizing into unions”.