WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top Amazon.com Inc official took a jab at U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders for planning a Friday visit to meet the company’s workers in Alabama, who are voting on whether to form a union.
“I often say we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that’s not quite right because we actually deliver a progressive workplace,” Dave Clark, the chief executive of Amazon’s worldwide consumer business tweeted on Wednesday.
In another tweet, Clark said, “if you want to hear about $15 an hour and health care, Senator Sanders will be speaking downtown. But if you would like to make at least $15 an hour and have good health care, Amazon is hiring.”
Sanders is a big supporter of a $15 an hour minimum wage – a rate Amazon pays its workers. A spokesman for Sanders did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
He is not the first politician to visit the facility. Earlier this month, a group of U.S. lawmakers visited the Alabama warehouse to lend their support to workers there.
Several labor leaders and lawmakers have said the union election is one of the most important ones in U.S. history.
The election has also earned support from President Joe Biden, who released a statement defending workers’ rights to form unions. While he did not mention Amazon, he referenced “workers in Alabama.”
Reuters reported on Wednesday that the Retail Wholesale and Department Store union seeking to organize Amazon’s warehouse employees in Alabama might dispute hundreds of ballots as ineligible, setting up a potential vote-count battle with the company.
Amazon has long discouraged attempts among its more than 800,000 U.S. employees to organize.
Allegations by many workers of a grueling or unsafe workplace, have turned unionizing the company into a key goal for the U.S. labor movement.
(Reporting by Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Stephen Coates)