Workers seeking to form the first Amazon union in the US received a boost from an unlikely source on Friday, after Republican senator Marco Rubio endorsed their efforts to organise and framed it as the latest salvo in America’s culture wars.
The Florida senator, who voted against raising the federal minimum wage, accused the ecommerce giant of waging “a war against working-class values” in an opinion piece published in USA Today.
Almost 6,000 workers at a Amazon warehouse — or “fulfilment centre” — in Bessemer, Alabama, began voting by postal ballot last month on whether to unionise, and have until March 29 to make their decision. To pass, the union needs 50 per cent of the returned vote, plus one worker.
Acknowledging the Republican party’s longstanding hostility to worker representation, Rubio instead suggested workers should unionise in order to resist any effort by Amazon to use its power and influence to be “allies of the left”.
“It is no fault of Amazon’s workers if they feel the only option available to protect themselves against bad faith is to form a union,” wrote Rubio, who ran to be the Republican candidate for president in 2016.
He added: “Today it might be workplace conditions, but tomorrow it might be a requirement that the workers embrace management’s latest ‘woke’ human resources fad.”
He added: “The Silicon Valley titan uses anti-competitive strategies to crush small businesses, bans conservative books…