Bernie Sanders calls on Biden to cut off federal contracts with 'anti-union' companies like Amazon

Bernie Sanders calls on Biden to cut off federal contracts with 'anti-union' companies like Amazon
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at an Amazon Labor Union rally on April 24, 2022 in New York City. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) traveled to Staten Island to meet with workers who successfully organized the first union at an Amazon facility in the United States.David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders sent President Biden a letter saying union-busting companies should not get federal contracts, according to Politico.
  • Sanders specifically called out Amazon, which has been accused of illegal anti-union tactics.

Senator Bernie Sanders is once again calling out union-busting — and this time, he wants action from President Joe Biden.

Politico first reported that Sanders sent Biden a letter on Tuesday asking him to fulfill his campaign promise that union-busting companies would not get federal contracts. He's calling on Biden to sign an executive order that would stop companies violating federal labor law from getting government contracts.

Sanders specifically called out Amazon, which has run aggressive anti-union campaigns against workers attempting to organize.

"Mr Bezos and his company have done everything possible, legal and illegal, to defeat the union effort," Sanders said in remarks on the Senate floor.

Quoting his letter, Sanders said that Amazon is the "poster child" for this anti-union busting executive order.


"Mr. President: It is abundantly clear that time and time again Amazon has engaged in illegal anti-union activity," Sanders wrote in the letter. "Amazon may be a large and profitable corporation, it may be owned by one of the wealthiest people in America, but it cannot be allowed to continue to violate the law and the rights of its employees. The time has come to tell Amazon that if it wants another federal contract, it must obey the law."

In January, the National Labor Relations Board accused the company of illegal tactics during the union drive by workers at Staten Island warehouse JFK8.

"The NLRB issued a complaint against Amazon alleging that the company repeatedly broke the law by threatening, surveilling, and interrogating their Staten Island warehouse workers who are engaged in a union organizing campaign," NLRB Region 29 Regional Director Kathy Drew King said in a statement to Insider's Isobel Hamilton.

"These allegations are false and we look forward to showing that through this process," an Amazon spokesperson told outlets Motherboard and Bloomberg at the time.

Workers at JFK8 ultimately voted to unionize, the first Amazon warehouse to do so. They're part of the new Amazon Labor Union (ALU), created by former Amazon worker Christian Smalls. Sanders joined Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at an ALU rally over the weekend as workers at another Staten Island warehouse vote on whether or not to join the union.


"I say to Jeff Bezos, who owns a $500 million yacht: Jeff, when you're out on your yacht, I want you to think about the workers in Staten Island and your employees all over this country," Sanders said at the rally. "They don't want to be exploited."

In his letter, Sanders evoked Biden's declaration that he intends "to be the most pro-union President leading the most pro-union administration in American history." When Politico asked Sanders if Biden has "fallen short" in his union support as president, Sanders said that he had.

"Today I say to President Biden: You promised to prevent union busters like Amazon from receiving lucrative contracts from the federal government," Sanders said on the Senate floor. "Keep that promise."