Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos has been asked to testify before the Senate Budget Committee on Wednesday, in a hearing focused on income inequality.The Amazon (AMZN) founder was invited by Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, the senator’s spokesperson, Mike Casca, confirmed to CNN. The hearing will include testimony from Jennifer Bates, an Amazon employee who is at the center of an attempt to unionize one of the company’s warehouses in Alabama. Bezos’ office confirmed to the committee that he has received the invitation, but not whether he plans to attend the hearing. He is not legally required to do so. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.The Washington Post first reported the news of Sanders’ invitation.”Jeff Bezos, the wealthiest person in the world, is in many respects emblematic of the unfettered capitalism that we are seeing in America today,” Sanders said in a statement to CNN.
“I have invited him to testify at the Budget Committee hearing on income and wealth inequality to explain to the American people why he believes it is appropriate for him to be spending a whole lot of money denying economic dignity to Amazon workers in Bessemer who want to form a union, while he has become $78 billion richer during the pandemic and is now worth $183 billion.”Bezos announced last month that he would step down as Amazon’s CEO later this year. Biden throws support behind Amazon workers holding milestone union vote‘
The attempt to unionize the Amazon fulfillment center in Bessemer, Alabama, has become the focal point of a growing struggle between Corporate America and labor groups to unionize within companies and states that have resisted such efforts. The election results in November have emboldened unions to expand their ranks, and President Joe Biden has offered his support to the workers attempting to organize in Alabama.
This is not the first time Sanders has attempted to challenge corporate leadership at its highest ranks. During his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president, Sanders traveled to Bentonville, Arkansas and spoke at Walmart (WMT)’s annual shareholder meeting about the company’s treatment of its workers.
Sanders offered a resolution to put an employee on the board and increase the company’s minimum wage. The resolution was defeated.In his new role as Budget Committee chairman, Sanders has a powerful tool to call attention to his concerns about economic inequality. He engineered an attempt use budget reconciliation to insert an increase in the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour in the Covid relief package but the plan was turned back by the Senate parliamentarian.
Sanders has vowed that his mission to raise the minimum wage is not over. He has said he will attempt to use reconciliation to get it passed in the future if Republicans refuse to support an increase.Here’s why 2021 could be a big year for labor unionsRepublicans continue to be skeptical of attempts to expand union ranks across the country and bust up laws in red states that prevent workers from being forced to join unions. GOP Senator Marco Rubio from Florida penned an op-ed in USA Today where he argued that creation of a union at the Amazon plant in Alabama would lead to fewer jobs and smaller wages.”Adversarial labor relations are generally harmful. When it is a good American company — for example, certain American automakers — adversarial relations risk hurting labor and management alike by causing American industry to lose ground to foreign competition.
And too often, the right to form a union has been, in practice, a requirement that business owners allow left-wing social organizers to take over their workplaces,” Rubio wrote.The Florida Senator however was in agreement with Sanders on Bezos and Amazon who he accused of using “anti-competitive strategies to crush small businesses.
You can find the original article here