The union election has drawn attention from labor leaders and politicians. If successful, it would be the first time employees of Amazon, America’s second-biggest private employer, are able to join a union in the United States.
“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.
The senator responded to Clark on Twitter and said he looks forward to meeting with Amazon workers in Alabama on Friday.
“All I want to know is why the richest man in the world, Jeff Bezos, is spending millions trying to prevent workers from organizing a union so they can negotiate for better wages, benefits and working conditions,” Sanders tweeted.
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.