Bernie Sanders, Amazon start tweet fight after Alabama union vote

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  • CNBC Television published this video item, entitled “Bernie Sanders, Amazon start tweet fight after Alabama union vote” – below is their description.

    Deirdre Bosa joins ‘Closing Bell’ to discuss the Twitter fight between Sen. Bernie Sanders and Amazon after news that ballot counting in Alabama’s Amazon union vote started. For access to live and exclusive video from CNBC subscribe to CNBC PRO:

    Amazon is playing an aggressive defense against its critics as it stares down a historic union vote at one of its warehouses in Alabama.

    In recent days, Amazon has sparred with a handful of high-profile lawmakers on Twitter over its working conditions, tax policies and threats to break up Big Tech. The jabs came from Amazon’s official social media account, which counts close to 175,000 followers, and Dave Clark, the company’s consumer boss.

    The social media fury started when Clark last week fired off a series of tweets defending the company’s labor practices and taking swipes at Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., who planned to meet with Amazon workers in Alabama amid the high-stakes union drive.

    The attacks escalated from there, with Amazon replying directly to comments from Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. In one notable exchange with Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., Amazon discounted claims that its workers are forced to urinate in bottles as a result of the demands of the job, a practice that has been widely documented.

    It’s not unusual for Amazon to engage with its critics in such a public forum. Amazon has been known to spar with lawmakers on Twitter, including President Joe Biden, then a presidential candidate, over the company’s tax record.

    But its latest public relations offensive has taken some onlookers by surprise. According to Recode, a rank-and-file employee inside Amazon even filed a “trouble ticket” over the tweets from the company’s official news account, believing they were so out of character that they may have been posted by someone with unauthorized account access.

    The tweets were reportedly sent out following a directive from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos to fight back against the company’s critics, according to Recode.

    Representatives from Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Bezos’ reported involvement in the Twitter controversy.

    Labor and antitrust experts say the tweets and the pressure from Bezos to fight back indicate Amazon is increasingly concerned about the looming union vote in Alabama, which is set to heat up this week.

    Approximately 5,800 workers at Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, have been filling out mail-in ballots since Feb. 8 as part of a campaign on whether to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Voting ends today and counting will begin on Tuesday. It’ll likely be several days before an outcome is reached, as Amazon and the RWDSU can contest ballots.

    If successful, the union drive could kick off a string of similar organizing attempts at Amazon warehouses across the U.S. and around the world. RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum told CNBC in an interview that the union has already received more than 1,000 inbound requests from U.S. Amazon workers who are eager to organize their own workplace.

    Amazon has staunchly opposed the unionization effort. Last month, it held mandatory meetings with workers at the Bessemer facility, known as BHM1, stating the case against unionizing. It sent out text messages and mailers urging workers to “vote NO” and it also set up a website urging workers to “do it without dues.”

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    In This Story: Bernie Sanders

    Bernard Sanders is an American politician who has served as the junior United States Senator from Vermont since 2007 and as U.S. Representative for the state’s at-large congressional district from 1991 to 2007. He is the longest-serving independent in U.S. congressional history, although he has a close relationship with the Democratic Party, having caucused with House and Senate Democrats for most of his congressional career.

    Sanders unsuccessfully sought the Democratic Party nomination for president of the United States in 2016 and 2020, finishing in second place in both campaigns.

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