Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) has stepped forward in support of workers at an Amazon (AMZN) warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., who are attempting to unionize.
The lawmaker shared his thoughts in an op-ed piece in USA Today on Friday, claiming that Amazon has “waged a war against working-class values.”
“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,” he said.
The Amazon workers have been vying to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. If successful, they would be the first U.S. Amazon employees to unionize, Reuters reports.
The workers have been voting by mail since February and ballots are due by the end of this month.
With Republicans typically favoring businesses and investors, Rubio’s stance is unusual, media reports say. He is the first high-profile Republican lawmaker to show support to the Alabama Amazon workers' efforts to unionize.
The Seattle online-retail and tech company has made aggressive efforts to stave off the union vote, reports say. The company has said that it provides workers with benefits, pay starting at $15 an hour, and advancement opportunities.
The op-ed comes after a group of Democratic U.S. Representatives, including Andy Levin, Jamaal Bowman, Cori Bush, Terri Sewell, and Nikema Williams, visited the Bessemer, Ala., warehouse and met workers and organizers.
Organizers have detailed that by forming a union, the workers aim to “collectively bargain over safety standards, training, breaks, pay, and other benefits,” Dow Jones reports.
President Joe Biden has also shown support for workers trying to unionize in Alabama. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who also backs the union drive, has invited Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos to testify at a Budget Committee hearing next week. The meeting discuss income and wealth inequality, CNET says.
At last check Amazon shares were trading 1.4% lower at $3,017.56.