Sanders calls on Biden to cut Amazon out of U.S. federal contracts

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at an Amazon facility during an Amazon Labour Union (ALU) rally in Staten Island, New York City
U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks at an Amazon facility during an Amazon Labour Union (ALU) rally in Staten Island, New York City, U.S., April 24, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

WASHINGTON, April 26 (Reuters) - U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday called for President Joe Biden to issue an executive order to cut off federal contracts to Inc (AMZN.O) until the e-commerce company stops what he described as "illegal anti-union activity."

"As you may know, Amazon, one of the largest and most profitable corporations in America, is the poster child as to why this anti-union busting Executive Order is needed now more than ever," Sanders said in a letter to Biden, which was reported earlier by Politico.

Workers at an Amazon warehouse in New York City recently voted to form the first union at the second-largest U.S. private employer. Amazon objected and accused the union of threatening workers unless they voted to organize, an allegation denied by the labor group. read more

Amazon workers from more than 100 other U.S. work sites have expressed interest in unionizing.

In his letter, Sanders also raised concerns over Amazon's classification of its drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, which provides them with a narrower set of benefits while preventing them from forming a union.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment late on Tuesday.

"Taxpayer dollars should not go to companies like Amazon and multi-billionaires like Jeff Bezos who repeatedly break the law," Sanders said in a speech on the Senate floor on Tuesday evening.

Biden has ousted government officials deemed by unions to be hostile to labor and reversed rules of former President Donald Trump that critics said weakened worker protections. read more

Sanders urged Biden to go further and cut-off federal contracts for firms seen as "union busters".

"Today I say to President Biden; you promised to prevent union busters like Amazon from receiving lucrative contracts from the federal government. Keep that promise," Sanders said on the Senate floor.

Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Stephen Coates

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Thomson Reuters

Kanishka Singh is a breaking news reporter for Reuters in Washington DC, who primarily covers US politics and national affairs in his current role. His past breaking news coverage has spanned across a range of topics like the Black Lives Matter movement; the US elections; the 2021 Capitol riots and their follow up probes; the Brexit deal; US-China trade tensions; the NATO withdrawal from Afghanistan; the COVID-19 pandemic; and a 2019 Supreme Court verdict on a religious dispute site in his native India.