The Senate Cannot Be the Graveyard for Labor Law Reform Again
For months, the eyes of our nation were transfixed on a small suburb near Birmingham, Ala. Warehouse workers authorized the largest union election overseen by the National Labor Relations Board since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The name of their employer is on over 5 billion packages sent annually: Amazon.
As a U.S. senator and the president of the AFL-CIO, America’s labor federation, respectively, we called on Amazon to refrain from intimidation and interference in this union election. Nevertheless, the company sent grossly misleading text messages, inundated workers with anti-union propaganda and even installed a mailbox on the premises to surveil the casting of ballots.
These tactics are, sadly, not new. Union-busting has proliferated, and lawyers and consultants have been perfecting the practice and profiting off of it for decades.
If the National Labor Relations Act states that the policy of the United States is to encourage collective bargaining, why are workers forced to run the gantlet to form a union? We can fix the ways in which the deck is stacked against workers with critical legislation called the Protecting the Right to Organize Act — but first, we must understand why the system is broken, and what is propping up this undemocratic status quo.