- Sen. Bernie Sanders said Amazon workers will inspire other union-organizing efforts.
- Workers at the Bessemer, Alabama, Amazon plant voted the union down 1,798 to 738.
- Sanders has previously criticized Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for trying to stop unionization efforts.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Sen. Bernie Sanders applauded Amazon workers at the Bessemer, Alabama, factory for taking on the company, even as a majority of votes were against unionizing.
“The willingness of Amazon workers in Bessemer to take on the wealthiest man in the world and a powerful company in an anti-union state is an inspiration,” Sanders said on Twitter, in response to news of the failed union attempt. “It takes an enormous amount of courage to stand up and fight back, and they should be applauded.”
-Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) April 9, 2021
The intense campaigning from union activists and Amazon ended with a decisive victory for the online retailer, as 1,798 workers voted against the union, and 738 workers voted for it.
In further tweets, Sanders said he agrees with calls for an investigation into the tactics the company used in its efforts to defeat the organizing attempt.
“The workers were up against a company that was willing to spend vast sums of money and use every kind of tactic there is to defeat them,” he said.
“The history of every struggle in this country tells us that we do not always win the first time out,” Sanders added. “But I believe, as a result of their courage, workers in Alabama will inspire significant growth in union organizing efforts around the country.”
Progressive International, a global organization that backs progressive ideas, said efforts to create an Amazon union, even as it was rejected, “planted powerful seeds to #MakeAmazonPay.”
-Progressive International (@ProgIntl) April 9, 2021
In a statement, Amazon thanked employees for participating in the election, and said, “There’s been a lot of noise over the past few months, and we’re glad that your collective voices were finally heard.”
“It’s easy to predict the union will say that Amazon won this election because we intimidated employees, but that’s not true,” the statement read.
Sanders had been sparring with Amazon in the weeks leading up to the union vote and even visited workers at the Bessemer, Alabama warehouse.
Prior to that, the Vermont senator criticized Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos for not showing up to a Congressional hearing and said had the executive been present he would have said, “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?”
The company later fired back at the senator, with Amazon Consumer Chief Dave Clark tweeting Sanders “should save his finger wagging lecture until after he actually delivers in his own backyard,” referencing minimum wage legislation.