10 Things in Politics: Amazon union fight draws lawmaker support

10 Things in Politics: Amazon union fight draws lawmaker support
Amazon faces a historic union vote in Alabama.Amazon; Elif Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty; Dustin Chambers/REUTERS; RWDSU; Samantha Lee/Insider

Good morning! Welcome back to 10 Things in Politics. Sign up here to get this newsletter in your inbox each day. Send your tips and suggestions to bgriffiths@insider.com or tweet me @BrentGriffiths.


Here's what you need to know:

1. A HISTORIC FIGHT: President Biden and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say they are closely watching whether 6,000 Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama will vote to become the first Amazon union in the US.

Amazon mounted an aggressive fight to persuade workers to vote no: Insider spoke with two workers about the lengths the company is going to.

Why workers are organizing: Catherine Highsmith, who started working in Amazon's Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse six months ago, said she likes her job but sees problems.


  • She said workers get unfairly punished for taking "time off task," Amazon's term for the time workers spend away from their workstations. Workers are allowed a certain amount of time off task, but are not told how much they have accrued or how close they are to getting a write-up, Highsmith said.
10 Things in Politics: Amazon union fight draws lawmaker support
An anti-union sign in Amazon's Bessemer, Alabama, warehouse.RWDSU

Amazon held mandatory meetings every day to try to dissuade workers: At those meetings, workers watched anti-union videos. Those meetings have since ceased, but Highsmith says she continues to receive texts "almost five times a day." The messages include "the union can't promise you anything."

  • Amazon accused of diverting traffic to make it organizing harder: The company petitioned county officials to change traffic lights outside of the warehouse more quickly from red to green. Union officials claim this was a ploy to stop organizers talking to workers while waiting. An Amazon spokesperson said such requests are normal.

Read our story here.

2. Biden renewed his call for an assault-weapons ban after Colorado shooting: He issued an emotional plea to the nation after 10 people were killed at a Boulder grocery store to renew the ban he helped pass as a senator. He noted that flags at the White House were already flying at half-staff to mark the eight people killed in Atlanta last week. "Another American city has been scarred by gun violence and resulting trauma," he said.

What we know:

10 Things in Politics: Amazon union fight draws lawmaker support
Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski.Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP


3. Pete Buttigieg called GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski as infrastructure talks heat up: The transportation secretary's outreach to a key potential vote shows the Biden administration's dual-track strategy, searching for potential bipartisan deals while still considering whether to fast-track parts of a $3 trillion package on solely Democratic support. More on their conversation in our exclusive story.

Early outlines of the plan: Everything from free community college and universal pre-K, to funding for roads and bridges, is under consideration.

  • Early signs show Republicans are uneasy: Some GOP lawmakers are balking at the size of the package, which is expected to be broken into smaller bills, The Washington Post reports. They also question the possible tax increases on wealthy Americans and corporations that would be used to pay for it.

4. Fauci called AstraZeneca's possible overstatements "an unforced error": Dr. Anthony Fauci blasted the drugmaker after an independent review board questioned the company's portrayal of its COVID-19 vaccine due to "outdated and potentially misleading data." This is the latest setback for this vaccine.

5. The White House promised to appoint more Asian Americans after two Democratic senators threatened to block Biden nominees: Sen. Tammy Duckworth told CNN that she was told by top White House officials that Biden didn't need more Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in his Cabinet because he had VP Kamala Harris. Duckworth and Mazie Hirono, the only two AAPI senators, later threatened to oppose nominees who aren't minorities. They backed off last night after the White House promised to create a senior AAPI liaison and more diversity in its picks. More on what happened here.

6. The top things for your calendar, all times Eastern:

  • 10:30 a.m.: Members of the White House pandemic team hold a news briefing.
  • 12:30 p.m.: Jen Psaki holds the White House daily news briefing with members of Biden's economic team.
  • 4:15 p.m.: The president and first lady host an event with members of the US Women's Soccer team to mark Equal Pay Day. Megan Rapinoe testifies before the House earlier in the day.

7. Israel could have a political deadlock for months: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's party held the lead in the country's fourth election in two years, per exit polls. But Netanyahu's neither right-wing alliance nor his opposition have a clear path to a majority, meaning a deadlock is a likely possibility, per The New York Times. A fifth election could also happen.

10 Things in Politics: Amazon union fight draws lawmaker support
Terrance Hopkins

8. A Black police-union president is confronting racism inside law enforcement: Terrance Hopkins, the president of the Black Police Association of Greater Dallas and 30-year police veteran, told Insider it's time for the country to overhaul law enforcement and address how racial bias plays a big role in policing practices. More from our exclusive Q&A.

9. Tucker Carlson sparred with a potential 2024 GOP presidential hopeful: Carlson, who's also been mentioned as a potential candidate, accused South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem of "cav[ing] to the NCAA" by not signing a bill barring transgender women from competing in women's sports. Noem said supporting the legislation could lead South Dakota into a drawn-out legal battle. More on the fight here.

10. Now, that's a cereal killer: Who doesn't wake up at the crack of prawn ready for a delicious bowl of shrimp cereal? Wait, what? Yes, a man claims he found shrimp tails in his box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. General Mills sought to krill this by claiming he had just found an "accumulation of cinnamon sugar." Read more here.

One last thing.


Today's trivia question: Today is Equal Pay Day. The first law President Obama signed addressing the issue was named after which woman? Email your guess and a suggested question to me at bgriffiths@insider.com.