Despite fiercely lobbying for mail-in voting in the 2020 Presidential Election, Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos – who also owns The Washington Post – has completed a complete 180 degree turn in his position in just three months. He is now demanding Amazon employees vote on unionization in person to ensure a “valid, fair and successful election.”
The sudden flip flop comes as employees at a Bessemer, Alabama Amazon warehouse prepare to vote on joining the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), who is overseeing the referendum, had originally planned to begin mail-in voting on February 8th, but Amazon has halted the process, with attorneys filing a motion last Thursday to delay the vote, which will include over an estimated 6,000 employees.
An Amazon spokeswoman detailed the company’s position on the voting process in a statement released to CNN:
“[T]he best approach to a valid, fair and successful election is one that is conducted manually, in-person, making it easy for associates to verify and cast their vote in close proximity to their workplace.”
“Amazon provided the NLRB with a safe, confidential and convenient proposal for associates to vote onsite which is in the best interest of all parties – associate convenience, vote fidelity, and timeliness of vote count. We will continue to insist on measures for a fair election, and we want everyone to vote, so our focus is ensuring that’s possible.”
Employees have reported poor work conditions and bottom of the barrel compensation at facilities owned by Bezos – the world’s richest man and a major backer of left wing movements worldwide. While the online retailer has reportedly seen record profits in recent months thanks to Amazon-backed COVID-19 shutdowns, some employees say they’re still relying on government assistance to get by due to low, stagnant wages.
Despite Bezos’ left-wing leanings, Amazon has stood firmly against the unionization of its employees throughout the years. In 2017, populist factions of the left and right alike joined forces to oppose the construction of a pair taxpayer-funded Amazon headquarters facilities in Arlington, Virginia and New York City, prompting the company to shift their planned New York operations to Tennessee.
Opponents of Amazon compared their plans to high tech versions of 20th century “company towns” seen across Appalachian coal country as employees of the planned headquarters will be encouraged to live in apartments owned by Amazon, shop at stores owned by Amazon, and live much of their day to day life within the company bubble.