Teamsters General Chairman Sean M. O’Brien Testifies Before Senate Budget Committee, Exposes Amazon’s Anti-Worker Practices
WASHINGTON, May 5, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien called out Amazon during a Senate hearing today for its anti-labor and anti-union practices and demanded that the federal government stop awarding lucrative government contracts to the global behemoth.
Testifying before the Senate Budget Committee, O’Brien told lawmakers that law-breaking companies like Amazon should not be allowed to profit at taxpayer expense while violating workers’ rights to collective bargaining. Noting that President Biden has made a campaign promise to only award contracts to employers who have signed neutrality agreements pledging not to wage anti-union campaigns, O’Brien said it was time to drop the hammer on Amazon.
“To put it plainly, our government is wrong to give taxpayers’ money in the form of federal contracts to companies like Amazon,” O’Brien said. “You reward employers who repeatedly, knowingly and willfully violate federal labor laws, drive down wages and standards in key Teamster industries, and create unsafe work environments.”
O’Brien noted that the company was found guilty last year of unlawfully firing two workers after they championed the cause of their co-workers at an Amazon warehouse in Seattle. In addition, Amazon violated labor law by Alabama when workers tried to organize, forcing a rerun of their elections this year. In December, the National Labor Relations Board cited Amazon for unlawfully threatening, surveilling and interrogating workers who were trying to start a union at its Staten Island facility. According to documents filed with the US Department of Labor, Amazon spent $4.3 million last year only to prevent its workers from unionizing.
“These kinds of actions show something very clear – when workers try to organize, Amazon is breaking the law. When workers speak out, Amazon does whatever it takes to silence them because Amazon is terrified of the power workers have when they act collectively,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien spoke about Amazon’s exploitative business model and its direct impact on workers. As federal safety data shows, the company’s strenuous work pace results in workplace injury rates nearly twice as high as those of all other non-Amazon warehouses. Its employees are seriously injured at rates that are almost 80% higher than the rest of the entire warehouse industry. Amazon accounts for half of all warehouse worker injuries, yet the company employs only a third of all warehouse workers nationwide.
“To this committee and to the entire federal government, do your duty to protect American workers,” O’Brien said. “We watch, we listen and we vote. Tell Amazon enough is enough, then show them you mean business. Don’t give this company, or any employer, another penny until the laws of the work of this country are truly defended and the voice of the working people is finally heard.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.2 million hard-working men and women across United States, Canada and Porto Rico. To visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.
Kara Deniz(202) 497-6610
Josh Levitt(845) 641-3654
SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters