- Sen. Bernie Sanders is set to travel to Alabama on Friday to meet with Amazon workers.
- The visit would come in the final days of a union vote at Amazon’s Bessemer fulfillment center.
- Sanders has repeatedly criticized CEO Jeff Bezos and his $US184 ($242) billion fortune.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Sen. Bernie Sanders is reportedly set to travel to Alabama this week to meet with Amazon workers attempting to unionize.
Reporters for The Washington Post, CNN, and The Intercept said on Wednesday that the Vermont senator is scheduled to make the trip to Bessemer, Alabama, on Friday. Workers at the fulfillment center there have until Monday to vote on whether to form a union, which would be the first in Amazon’s history.
A spokesperson for Sanders did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Dave Clark, Amazon’s chief of worldwide consumer, said in a statement that he welcomes Sanders to Alabama.
“I often say we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that’s not quite right because we actually deliver a progressive workplace for our constituents: a $US15 ($20) minimum wage, health care from day one, career progression, and a safe and inclusive work environment,” Clark said. “So if you want to hear about $US15 ($20) an hour and health care, Senator Sanders will be speaking downtown. But if you would like to make at least $US15 ($20) an hour and have good health care, Amazon is hiring.”
Sanders has recently clashed with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. During a Senate hearing earlier this month, Sanders criticized Bezos’ wealth and Amazon’s efforts to encourage workers to vote against unionizing. Bezos declined an invitation to testify at the hearing, which was titled “The Income and Wealth Inequality Crisis in America.”
“If he was with us this morning, I would ask him the following question … Mr. Bezos, you are worth $US182 ($239) billion – that’s a B,” Sanders said. “One hundred eighty-two billion dollars; you’re the wealthiest person in the world. Why are you doing everything in your power to stop your workers in Bessemer, Alabama, from joining a union?”
Bezos’ net worth has since ticked up to $US184 ($242) billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire’s Index.
Sanders has criticized Bezos’ wealth several times in the past, telling CNN this month that the CEO was the emblem of “unfettered capitalism” in America. Sanders has also put pressure on Bezos to raise the minimum wage for Amazon employees and introduced a bill in 2018 called the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act, or Stop BEZOS. The bill did not receive a vote, but that year Amazon raised its minimum wage to $US15 ($20) an hour.
Amazon’s Alabama union vote has drawn the attention of other politicians, including Sen. Marco Rubio, who expressed support for the union, and President Joe Biden, who said in a video that “there should be no intimidation, no coercion, no threats, no anti-union propaganda” from employers.
Amazon has staunchly opposed the formation of a union, arguing that it would only cost workers more money in dues and provide benefits Amazon already gives them.
The company has aggressively pushed employees to vote against unionizing. Employees told Insider that Amazon had started handing out “vote no” pins and hosting frequent informational meetings about unions in addition to airing anti-union ads on Twitch and placing signs in bathrooms.
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