WASHINGTON — Vice President Kamala Harris and Labor Secretary Marty Walsh met with union organizers on the White House on Thursday because the administration seems to spice up unionization campaigns.
Individuals within the assembly, which featured an unscheduled look by President Joe Biden, mentioned organizers’ efforts to kind unions of their workplaces, and the way these might immediate employees across the nation to mount comparable group campaigns, in line with a readout from the White House. Biden thanked them for bolstering organizing momentum that’s rising nationally.
Among the many visitors had been Chris Smalls, who heads the Amazon Labor Union that received a vote final month to unionize warehouse employees on Staten Island, New York. Addressing a union convention in Washington final month, Biden quipped, “By the way, Amazon here we come,” drawing loud cheers, although he didn’t elaborate.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki mentioned after the assembly that Biden’s participation was about selling labor organizing throughout the nation, not at Amazon particularly.
“The president has long been a supporter of the rights of workers to organize, the rights of collective bargaining and he dropped by this meeting to simply offer his support for those efforts,” Psaki mentioned. “But he is not engaging — we don’t engage or get directly involved in labor disputes, obviously, but he certainly supports the rights of workers.”
Different organizers attending Thursday’s assembly included these working to unionize Starbucks, open air retailer REI and the animation studio Titmouse.
Earlier than the assembly, Smalls testified at a Senate Finances committee listening to on Amazon’s federal contracts. Sen. Bernie Sanders, the Vermont Unbiased who chairs the committee, has been urgent the White House to chop off the corporate’s contracts with the federal government till the retailer stops what Sanders has referred to as its “illegal anti-union activity.”
In a submitting launched in March, the corporate disclosed it spent about $4.2 million final 12 months on labor consultants, who organizers say Amazon employed to steer employees to not unionize. Organizers imagine slicing off Amazon’s federal contracts would fulfill the president’s marketing campaign promise to make sure such offers solely go to corporations that signal agreements “committing to not run anti-union campaigns.”
Seattle-based Amazon didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. Sanders’ workplace mentioned Amazon founder Jeff Bezos declined to come back to the listening to.
Hadero reported from New York.