Anti-labor Amazon clinches a massive government contract despite Biden’s pro-worker pledge
Since its founding, Amazon has been accused of exploiting its workforce. Reports reveal that Amazon workers are injured on the job at a much higher rate than the average US worker. Amazon is notorious for imposing inhuman time schedules on their workers such that they aren't given sufficient time for bathroom breaks. Amazon also has a record of wrongfully terminating employees and incorrectly distributing benefits.
Amazon has aggressively prevented its warehouse workers across the United States from unionizing. Last year, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that Amazon had violated labor laws in preventing its warehouse workers from unionizing in Bessemer, Alabama.
Recently, the Amazon labor union held a successful union vote at an Amazon facility in New York City to join the Amazon Labor Union that advocates for higher wages and job security.
Christian Smalls, who heads the Amazon Labor Union, recently met with Biden shortly after Smalls harshly criticized Amazon’s labor practices during the Senate hearing.
Just met the President lol he said I got him in trouble 😈 gooooooooooood @amazonlabor ✊🏽— Christian Smalls (@Shut_downAmazon) May 5, 2022
Last month, Biden drew applause at a labor event when said that the “choice to join a union belongs to workers alone" and called out Amazon by name proclaiming that "Amazon here we come. Watch. Watch,” Biden said.
During his campaign, Biden had promised to “ensure federal contracts only go to employers who sign neutrality agreements committing not to run anti-union campaigns.”
So how do Biden’s utterances measure against his actions?
Nextgov reported that Biden’s National Security Agency (NSA) signed a $10 billion contract with Amazon. The federal contract is in addition to another massive Pentagon contract on which Amazon is also currently bidding.
Days after Amazon signed the NSA contract, the Amazon Labor Union lost its second union election bid by a two to one margin at another Staten Island warehouse. The Observer reported that Amazon had funded a prolonged and aggressive campaign to block organizing efforts on the part of workers.
Meanwhile, Lever News reported that Congress is moving legislation to give Amazon new tax breaks and give $10 billion to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’s space company. Democrat senators recently also voted to reject a measure from Sen. Bernie Sanders demanding that tech companies that receive government subsidies remain neutral in union elections.
Amazon has used loopholes to avoid paying federal income taxes for years. In 2020, Amazon paid federal income taxes for the first time since 2016. The amount paid by Amazon was $162 million last year, a small fraction of its $13.9 billion pre-tax reported income in 2019. Tax filings show that Jeff Bezos didn't pay any income taxes for at least two years between 2006 and 2018.
So why does Amazon continues to get a pass, despite such a poor record on taxes and labor human rights?
The answer is that Amazon donated $13.1 million to Democrats from 2020 to 2021 and $13.1 million from 2018 to 2019. Amazon has been donating to the Democrats since 1998. Their donations to the GOP have been comparatively lower. This was reported by Open Secrets, a nonpartisan group that tracks money in U.S. politics.
Amazon’s top recipient in donations was Joe Biden, who received $1.7 million for his presidential campaign. Amazon also hired the brother of Biden’s top aide as a lobbyist mere days after the 2020 presidential election. Amazon donated $800,000 to Bernie Sanders and $13,216 to AOC.
In addition to campaign contributions, there are myriad other ways for Amazon to buy influence without being detected. There could be paid speaking assignments or rewarding book deals or lucrative employment for relatives or cronies or post-retirement employment for the politician himself.
There could also be favorable coverage from the Washington Post which Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns or a content deal on Amazon’s streaming services.
The Democrats once claimed to be the party of the working class, but those days are over.
In recent times, Democrats have passed legislation that is against the interests of organized labor. The Democrats have also signed trade deals that send American jobs offshore, which cut costs for big corporations such as Amazon.
This isn't a recent phenomenon, Democrat abandonment of the labor movement began in the late '70s under President Carter, and it continued under President Clinton and President Obama.
Biden and the current group of Democrats are merely continuing that ignominious tradition.
Biden's open borders have caused an influx of poor migrants who work for less than minimum wage, pay no taxes, and obtain no benefits. Consequently, the citizen laborer is either rendered unemployed or witnesses a sharp decline in wages. The 40-year high inflation under Biden has hit the working class, as they see their savings deplete. All of this contributes to income inequality, an issue that the Democrats claim to care about dearly.
They order lockdowns that hurt the working class. They order vaccine mandates, which causes working-class people such as truckers and firefighters, who are unsure of the merits of the vaccine, to quit their jobs. Their call to defund the police causes lawlessness in poor neighborhoods. Their focus is on issues such as climate change and gender pronouns that are irrelevant to the working class. Regular people who stand against them politically are called extremists and domestic terrorists.
The Democrat mentality has the unmistakable stench of snobbery and elitism. They attend events where the working class who serve them suffocate under masks while they pose before cameras in designer outfits.
Their focus and loyalty are solely towards their very wealthy donors. Hence while Amazon engaged in union-busting and subjected its workers to sub-human conditions, Democrats awarded them massive contracts.
The modern Democrat only has empty words during campaign rallies for the working class and nothing more.
They may express compassion for workers, support unions, and attack big corporations. They may even invite union leaders to events and shake hands with them before cameras. They may slam capitalism. They may excoriate Republicans for being the party of the rich. But after they received their accolades and favorable press, they return back to their offices and act solely in favor of the big corporations who exploit workers.
Corporations, big and small have a vital role to play in a nation’s economy. These are wealth creators who also generate employment. They must be encouraged by governments and even given benefits. But that cannot occur at the cost of the rights and dignity of workers who toil for the corporation.
On the issue of the working class and several other historic constituencies, the Democrats are like actors who say their lines from a prepared script with all the right emotions before the cameras. However, once cameras are turned off they return back to reality -- i.e., focusing solely on their self-interests.
It's time for the workers to now focus on their self-interest and vote the Democrats out during the midterms and in 2024.
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