In separate letters last month, the presidents of the United Food & Commercial Workers, Communications Workers of America, and United Auto Workers wrote that their groups were immediately stepping down from their positions on the National Consumers League board of directors, citing the Seattle-based organization. the involvement of the e-commerce giant in the group.
“Sadly, it has become increasingly clear in recent months that the NCL leadership is now prioritizing donations from anti-worker companies like Amazon ahead of its historic mission in favor of workers and consumers,” said writes the presidents of the CWA and the UFCW.
The auto workers chairman said in the union’s letter that the “decisions of the consumer group regarding the partnership with Amazon and subsequent board discussions” left him with no choice but to resign.
NCL executive director Sally Greenberg declined to comment, saying in an email that it was “an internal matter of the board.”
Founded in 1899, NCL states on its website that the group’s official mission is to “protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.”
The chairman of the board is a representative of the Service Employees International Union and one of the vice-chairmen is from the AFL-CIO. Spokesmen for Amazon, SEIU and AFL-CIO did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Friday.
Amazon’s rapid growth, expansion into industries such as grocery stores and parcel delivery, and aggressive and successful efforts to defeat organizing efforts among its workers have made it a primary target and antagonist of the U.S. labor movement. and progressive politicians who are allied with it.
Last year, NCL’s donors included tech, financial, aerospace and pharmaceutical companies, as well as labor unions and law firms, according to its 2020 annual report, which noted that it had “supported unionization and increases of the minimum wage in the country’s states ”.
In March, the nonprofit released a measured statement regarding the then-ongoing unionization election among Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama.
NCL said at the time that it supported the right of workers to organize, that employees “sought a stronger voice” on issues such as productivity expectations and that it hoped the company would honor the choice. of its workers.
“We have partnered with Amazon on issues of great importance to consumers, including fighting fraud and supporting teen financial literacy, and we appreciate the company’s dedication to these concerns and its promise to support a nationwide minimum wage of $ 15 an hour, ”NCL said in the same statement.
Amazon employees voted against unionization, but a National Labor Relations Board hearing officer said the result should be dismissed due to misconduct on the part of the company. Amazon has denied any wrongdoing.