Amazon Labor Union President Christian Smalls was busy Thursday.
After testifying at a Senate Budget Committee hearing entitled “Should Taxpayer Dollars Go to Companies That Violate Labor Laws?” That were dedicated to Amazon.com Inc.
Smalls went to the White House, met with President Joe Biden and took part in discussions with Vice President Kamala Harris, Labor Minister Marty Walsh and other labor organizers.
“I just met the president, lol, he said I got him in trouble,” Smalls tweeted.
Biden tweeted: “Today I met with grassroots workers to thank them for their leadership in the unions. From the Amazon Labor Union to the IATSE at Titmouse Productions, these people are inspiring the workers ’movement across the country to fight for the wages and benefits they deserve.”
A White House press release said that among those present at Thursday’s roundtable were representatives of workers from Starbucks.
and REI, two other major companies where efforts are being made to build unions.
Smalls’ earlier testimony before the Senate committee was already in the headlines. At a live broadcast, Sen. Lindsey Graham, RS.C., told Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., And committee chair, that Sanders’ “bias” determined that “Amazon is a piece-bad company.” .
Smalls briefly declined from the prepared introductory statement to address Graham.
“It’s not business and business,” Smalls said. “These are not Democrats or Republicans. This is a matter for the workers. We are the ones who suffer in the business you are talking about. You have to listen because we represent your constituents as well. People are the ones who force these corporations to go, not the other way around. ”
After conducting the the first Amazon warehouse to unite in New York’s Staten Island last month, Smalls and ALU break away loss this week at another warehouse in Staten Island, which they were trying to organize. But Smalls’s focus is on him and other work affairs.
As Sanders noted during hiring, Amazon faces numerous and long-standing allegations of action against unions, including in the National Labor Council. This includes the dismissal of Amazon Smalls in 2020, which, according to the company, happened because it violated the quarantine rules of the COVID-19 pandemic.
When Sanders asked Smalls to describe how Amazon is preventing unions, a former Amazon employee said the company uses “union thugs” for “virtually gas” workers. Smalls said these people “behave as if trying to improve conditions. But in fact, they ask who is a supporter of trade unions, and inform the leadership. “
Amazon’s other tactics include “classes of 50 to 60 workers,” where “anti-union propaganda is hammered into their heads for almost an hour four days a week,” Smalls said.
Amazon did not return a request for comment on Smalls’ hearings and statements.
Teamsters President Sean O’Brien also testified at the hearing.
“It is wrong for our government to give dollars to taxpayers in this form
federal contracts with companies like Amazon, ”O’Brien said in his prepared testimony. “There is no excuse for rewarding employers who repeatedly, knowingly and purposefully violate federal labor laws; lower wages and standards throughout the supply chain, including in the core areas of Teamster production; and create a hazardous work environment. ”
Among those who disagreed with the view that Amazon should be banned from government contracts because of its labor issues was Rachel Gresler, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Institute for Economic Freedom.
“The federal contract process is not a suitable or effective way to address obvious problems,” she said. “It will do much more harm to taxpayers and deprive Americans of vital services, including health and national security, than punishing target companies.”