Biden pollster GSG ‘deeply sorry’ for Amazon’s anti-union action as labor groups drop it

Amazon workers arrive with paperwork to incorporate at the NLRB office in Brooklyn, New York, October 25, 2021.

Brendan Mcdermid | Reuters

Leading labor groups and political action committees are separating themselves from a major Democratic Party poll after it was reported the company had worked Amazonanti-labor efforts at a warehouse on New York’s Staten Island.

At the end of March, CNBC reported that Amazon tapped Global Strategy Group, an influential polling and consulting firm, to help with campaign material at several Staten Island facilities, including JFK8, the website of a successful union in the first day of this month.

GSG is well known on Capitol Hill and in Democratic political circles. It serves as a voting partner for the pro-Biden super PAC ahead of the 2020 election and maintains a list of high profile political and corporate clients, including Google and Facebook.

“This is really really disgusting,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, wrote in a tweet after the CNBC story was published.

To show solidarity with the Amazon Federation of Labor and strengthen the labor movement More broadly, AFT and some other former GSG clients are separating themselves from the company and committing not to do business with the company in the future. All followed a campaign that ultimately failed.

On April 1st, JFK8 election counting showed that, by a wide margin, employees voted to unionize, the first time that has happened at an Amazon facility in the US. A week later, Amazon file an objection with the National Labor Relations Board, arguing that the electoral process had been tainted.

President Joe Biden, who has promised to be “the most pro-union president,” expressed his support for consolidation efforts at Amazon on April 6, commenting, “By the way, Amazon, here we come. Stay tuned.”

GSG initially tried to keep quiet about its work with Amazon. But facing feedback from customers, the company is now apologizing for working on the campaign.

Tanya Meck, a partner and managing director at GSG, said: “Despite recent reports that are inaccurate about the reality of our work for Amazon, it’s okay to get involved in any way. were all mistakes, we have resigned from that job and we are deeply sorry.” in a statement.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A motion with momentum

Among the groups severing ties with GSG was the Service Employees International Union, one of the largest labor unions in the country. SEIU has spent $1.74 million on GSG services since 2005, according to Labor Department records. Most recently last year, SEIU paid GSG $66,500 for voter polling services, records show.

A SEIU spokesperson told CNBC that the union’s country office will not use GSG in the future.

Weingarten said AFT, which has not worked with GSG for several years, will not return as a customer. Labor Department records show the AFT paid GSG about $160,000 for polling and consulting services between 2013 and 2014.

“There are many consultants who support the right of people who work hard for a living – people like teachers, bus drivers, nurses and Amazon workers – to have a say in the work,” Weingarten said. . “We’ll be working with those people who don’t need to be reminded that working for people who are working is good for business.”

Unions aren’t the only upset customers. The Federation of Conservation Voters, a political action committee and environmental advocacy group, said it was “reassessing how this news could affect future plans.” And the Democrats of Nevada and Iowa, where various Democratic candidates have hired GSG in recent years, say they won’t switch to GSG in the future.

A representative from the Nevada Democratic Party said in an email: “We are proud to stand with our unions and the workers of our country and we are thrilled to learn of the participation. GSG’s involvement in union breakup efforts”. “Due to what we’ve discovered, we won’t be working with them in the future.”

CNBC reached out to about a dozen politicians and PACs listed as GSG clients for submissions to the Federal Election Commission. None of the elected officials were available for comment.

Of the labor groups CNBC contacted, only one, the United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners, said it would continue to work with GSG.

GSG began operations in 1995 as a polling company and has since expanded to provide research, public relations and consulting services. According to its website, the company “led the vote for dozens of winning political campaigns and organizations in 2018 and 2020 to secure the current Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.” .”

GSG is the voting partner of Priorities USA, a pro-Biden super PAC and has worked for the Kirsten Gillibrand Democratic Foundation, in New York; Joe Manchin, West Virginia, and Ed Markey, Massachusetts. A decade ago, it work for Jen Psakiwho is currently Biden’s White House press secretary.

Amazon’s anti-union techniques on Staten Island include plastering walls with “Vote No” banners, setting up an anti-union website – – and showing presentations processes where employees are required to sit at meetings.

Last week, the Amazon Labor Federation pay Allegations of unfair labor practices against the NLRB, accusing Amazon and GSG of interfering with employees’ rights to organize.

Amazon has also fought hard to beat consolidation elsewhere, most notably in Bessemer, Alabama, where workers just finished their second union vote after the first failed vote last year. Latest election closer, and so many votes are being challenged whose outcome is still in doubt.

Warehouse workers on Amazon have ramped up their activities in Pandemic caused by covid-19, demanding safer working conditions and higher wages. Top Democrats around the country rallied for their cause.

“Great work led by workers @AmazonLabor in Staten Island,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, of New York, wrote in a tweet after the votes were counted. Congratulations on the historic victory! And good luck as you move forward with the contract. “

SENTRY: Bezos addresses Amazon union vote in shareholder letter

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