After a major win last week for unionization at an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, the Amazon Labor Union received moral support from US President Joe Biden on Wednesday.
Biden spoke at the North America’s Building Trades Unions Legislative Conference and gave a nod to the union victory at Amazon.
“And by the way, by the way, Amazon, here we come,” Biden told the audience, which cheered at the mention. The president also praised unions in general, saying they’re for “providing dignity and respect for people who bust their necks.”
Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Workers at the Staten Island warehouse held a six-day election on whether they’d join the Amazon Labor Union, which formed after employees planned walkouts over a lack of COVID-19 protections in 2020. The vote creates the first unionized Amazon workforce in the US, and it came as a surprise following Amazon’s push to inundate workers with anti-union messages.
Amazon faces growing union pressure. Another of its warehouses in Staten Island is set to vote on joining ALU at the end of April. A separate vote tally took place last week for a union election at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama. The count came out against the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union in that election, but more than 400 challenged ballots remain uncounted and could affect the outcome. Other labor groups are making direct demands of Amazon and planning walkouts without formally unionizing.
Biden previously voiced support for employees who wanted to unionize in 2021, as an earlier union election was taking place at the Alabama warehouse. He didn’t mention Amazon by name during those comments but urged workers on, saying, “Make your voice heard.”