Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) is backing Amazon workers’ attempt to unionize in the city of Bessemer, Ala., in an op-ed published Friday morning in USA Today.
“For decades, companies like Amazon have been allies of the left in the culture war, but when their bottom line is threatened they turn to conservatives to save them. Republicans have rightly understood the dangers posed by the unchecked influence of labor unions. Adversarial relations between labor and management are wrong,” Rubio wrote. “But the days of conservatives being taken for granted by the business community are over.”
Rubio added, “Here’s my standard: When the conflict is between working Americans and a company whose leadership has decided to wage culture war against working-class values, the choice is easy—I support the workers. And that’s why I stand with those at Amazon’s Bessemer warehouse today.”
Rubio is among a number of Republicans, including Senator Josh Hawley (R., Mo.), who have embraced a “pro-worker” conservatism in the wake of President Trump’s 2016 victory and subsequent defeat.
“We must…embrace a pro-American capitalism—one that promotes the common good, as opposed to one that prioritizes Wall Street and Beijing—and become a patriotic, pro-worker party that fights for dignified work, strong families, and vibrant communities,” Rubio said in December 2020.
The Bessemer unionization attempt, the largest in Amazon’s history, is taking place with a mail-in vote comprising roughly 6,000 workers, begun in February and continuing through the end of March. The attempt is being organized by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
“When Amazon and Jeff Bezos looked at Bessemer, they saw one of the poorest cities in the state of Alabama,” Michael Foster, an organizer for RWDSU, told The Los Angeles Times on Thursday. “What they failed to uncover is that this was a union city of steelworkers and coal mine workers. … These people know about unions, even though this is a red state.”
Alabama is a right-to-work state where workers are not required to pay union dues.