CBS Cheers Biden as on the ‘Side’ of Workers in Union Battle

News & Politics

Joe Biden broke with a long-standing norm and weighed in on the fight to unionize Amazon in Alabama. But rather than portray this as too controversial, CBS This Morning on Tuesday cheered the “historic” move and demonstration that, when it comes to workers, the President is “on their side.”  At least CBS covered it though. ABC and NBC on Monday night and Tuesday skipped the unusual move.

Co-host Gayle King hyped, “There is a historic labor showdown taking place in Alabama involving the world’s largest online retailer. And now it’s drawing the attention of the White House…. This is a historic challenge to the internet giant at a time when Amazon is hires tens of thousands of people every month.”

The only talking head guest in the segment was Stuart Applebaum, the President of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. Regarding a video released by the White House issuing support for Amazon workers unionizing, he underlined the Democratic/CBS talking point of Biden on your side:

The importance of the video is that it’s telling workers no matter how much your employer is trying to intimidate you, no matter how powerful the employer may be, the President of the United States has your back.

Reporter Nancy Cordes went back to Applebaum. He hailed, “For the workers at the warehouse in Alabama, there was no question that President Biden was speaking to them.” She somewhat blandly noted what should be controversial: “While many Democrats are pro-union, presidents from both parties typically steer clear of specific labor disputes, particularly when they involve one of the nation’s largest companies.” 

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Finally, Cordes allowed a moment of cynicism, noting that this all is happening as Biden’s planned $15 minimum wage falls apart. Still, she described it as showing workers that “he’s on their side.”

One important note on the timing of all of this, this is the week when the President’s proposed minimum wage hike is officially falling apart on Capitol Hill, at least for now. And he is facing some frustration from progressives who wanted him to fight harder. So it may be part of the reason why he chose to come out and show solidarity with workers to remind them that he’s on their side.

The Democratic propaganda on CBS was sponsored by Colgate. Click on the link to let them know what you think.

A transcript of the segment is below. Click “expand” to read more.

CBS This Morning

3/2/2021

7:41 AM ET 

GAYLE KING: There is a historic labor showdown taking place in Alabama involving the world’s largest online retailer. And now it’s drawing the attention of the White House. Thousands of workers at an Amazon warehouse outside of Birmingham are voting on whether to form the company’s first labor union in the U.S. This is a historic challenge to the internet giant at a time when Amazon is hires tens of thousands of people every month. Amazon is pushing its employees to vote no. But in a video message, President Biden is urging management to back off and let the workers decide for themselves. Nancy Cordes is at the White House with more on the story. Nancy, good morning. Why is this so significant?

NANCY CORDES: Good morning, Gayle. It’s significant because while many Democrats are pro-unions, presidents from both parties typically steer clear of specific labor disputes, particularly when they involve one of the nation’s largest companies.

JOE BIDEN: The choice to join a union is up to the workers, full stop.

CORDES: In the two-minute video, there was only one state president Biden mentioned by name.

BIDEN: Workers in Alabama and all across America are voting whether to organize a union in their workplace.

CORDES: Bessemer, Alabama, is home to an Amazon warehouse where about 6,000 employees are voting right now on whether to perform the internet giant’s first union in the U.S. It’s a bitter battle.

JENNIFER BATES: Amazon doesn’t treat their employees like people. We’re treated like we’re robots.

CORDES: Warehouse employees like Jennifer Bates constantly get texts from Amazon, warning that union dues could leave them with less money than they already have. Anti-union flyers are even posted inside warehouse bathroom stalls.

BIDEN: There should be no intimidation no coercion, no threats, no anti-union propaganda.

CORDES: Amazon didn’t respond to a request for a comment, but in a previous statement to Reuters, it said, “We don’t believe the union represents the majority of our employees’ views. Our employees chose to work at Amazon because we offer some of the best jobs available.”  But more than 2,000 workers indicated they were interested in joining a union, which is what triggered this vote. The White House suggests the President was simply showing support for all unions.

JEN PSAKI: We don’t comment on specific cases.

CORDES: But union officials say his message was clear.

STUART APPELBAUM (The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union President): For the workers at the warehouse in Alabama, there was no question that President Biden was speaking to them.

CORDES: Stuart Applebaum is the president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union

APPELBAUM: The importance of the video is that it’s telling workers no matter how much your employer is trying to intimidate you, no matter how powerful the employer may be, the President of the United States has your back.

CORDES: Presidents traditionally take pains not to weigh into union disputes, but Mr. Biden campaigned on a very clear platform.

BIDEN: I stated it clear to corporate leaders. I said, “I want you to know I’m a union guy. “

CORDES: One important note on the timing of all of this, this is the week when the President’s proposed minimum wage hike is officially falling apart on Capitol Hill, at least for now. And he is facing some frustration from progressives who wanted him to fight harder. So it may be part of the reason why he chose to come out and show solidarity with workers to remind them that he’s on their side. Anthony?

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