MEDIA ADVISORY: Chairman Sanders to Hold Budget Committee Hearing on Amazon and Ending Federal Contracts to Companies Engaged in Illegal Anti-Union Activities

The committee will hear testimony from panelists, including Christian Smalls, President of the Amazon Labor Union, who helped lead the first successful unionization effort at an Amazon warehouse in the United States.

Chairman Sanders has invited Jeff Bezos to testify.

WASHINGTON, May 2 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, announced Monday that the committee will hold a hearing Thursday, May 5, at 11:00 a.m. titled “Should Taxpayer Dollars Go to Companies that Violate Labor Laws?”

Thursday’s hearing comes at a time when the federal government spends more than $600 billion each year on contracts to thousands of companies who employ more than four million contract workers. However, nearly 30 percent of the top 200 violators of workplace safety and wage theft are government contractors. Between 2014 and 2019, federal contractors were required to pay nearly $225 million in back wages to workers for Service Contract Act violations.

Amazon, one of the largest and most profitable corporations in America, has become the poster child for illegal anti-union behavior while raking in billions in federal contracts. Since 2004, Amazon has received thousands of federal contracts worth billions of dollars, and is currently in line to receive a $10 billion cloud contract from the National Security Agency. Blue Origin may also soon receive a contract from NASA worth up to $10 billion. However, last year alone, Amazon spent over $4 million on consultants in an effort to illegally prevent its warehouses from unionizing. Amazon has also been penalized more than $75 million for breaking federal discrimination and wage laws, is currently being sued by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for illegal anti-union retaliation, and has 59 Unfair Labor Practice cases currently open against them.

Testifying at the hearing will be Christian Smalls, Sean O'Brien, Greg LeRoy, and Thomas Costa.

Chairman Sanders has also extended an invitation to Jeff Bezos to testify at the hearing.

Hearing Details
What: Hearing of the Committee on the Budget to consider “Should Taxpayer Dollars Go to Companies that Violate Labor Laws?”
When: 11:00 a.m. ET, Thursday, May 5, 2022
Where: Room SD-608. The hearing will also be livestreamed on the Budget Committee’s website and Sanders’ social media pages.
Christian Smalls, President, Amazon Labor Union
Sean O'Brien, General President, International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Greg LeRoy, Executive Director, Good Jobs First
Thomas Costa, Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security Government Accountability Office