Ten days after an Oval Office meeting with top union leaders, Biden released a pro-union video commenting on the in-progress union vote at an Amazon distribution center in Bessemer, Alabama. Labor leaders hailed it as a far more explicitly pro-union statement than any that other recent presidents have made. The Feb. 28 video appeared on the @POTUS Twitter account. Here’s the full text of his remarks:
I have long said America wasn’t built by Wall Street. It was built by the middle class, and unions built the middle class. Unions put power in the hands of workers. They level the playing field. They give you a stronger voice, for your health, your safety, higher wages, protections from racial discrimination and sexual harassment. Unions lift up workers, both union and non-union, but especially Black and Brown workers.
I made it clear — I made it clear when I was running — that my administration’s policy would be to support unions organizing and the right to collectively bargain. I’m keeping that promise.
You should all remember, the National Labor Relations Act didn’t just say that union are allowed to exist, it said that we should encourage unions. So let me be really clear: It’s not up to me to decide whether anyone should join a union. But let me be even more clear: It’s not up to an employer to decide that either. The choice to join a union is up to the workers — full stop.
Today and over the next few days and weeks workers in Alabama and all across America are voting on whether to organize a union in their workplace.” This is vitally important — a vitally important choice as America grapples with the deadly pandemic, the economic crisis and the reckoning on race—what it reveals the deep economic disparities that still exist in our country.
And there should be no intimidation, no coercion, no threats, no anti-union propaganda. No supervisor should confront employees about their union preferences. You know, every worker should have a free and fair choice to join a union. The law guarantees that choice. And it’s your right, not that of an employer, it’s your right. No employer can take that right away.
So make your voice heard. God bless you and may God protect the workers and their families who are trying to figure out how to make it, fairly.
Workers in Alabama – and all across America – are voting on whether to organize a union in their workplace. It’s a vitally important choice – one that should be made without intimidation or threats by employers.
Every worker should have a free and fair choice to join a union. pic.twitter.com/2lzbyyii1g
— President Biden (@POTUS) March 1, 2021