Is it time to get loud with President Biden?

Joe Biden Amazon

Is it time to get loud with President Biden? In These Times says, “yes!” In today’s newsletter, In These Times writes:

“President Biden thus far has not explicitly come out in support of the Amazon union effort, and union people are getting pissed. For good reason! There is a simple way to look at this, which is “Credit Card Joe is a natural born sellout,” but there is a slightly more nuanced way for labor people to look at it as well which will probably be more useful in the long run.

Politically, Biden is like a car parked in neutral: It will go where you want, but you have to push it. (The fact that many of us on “the left” tend to naturally despise Joe Biden is fine and all, but now he’s President and we need to get stuff from him.) The last time I personally saw Joe Biden he was walking on a Culinary Union picket line in Las Vegas, looking like exactly what he is—a professional retail politician who has spent decades skillfully cultivating union support. This is not the same thing as being a true believer in the labor movement, but it is better than many of the alternatives on offer in Washington, DC.

We can speculate on why Biden has been too scared to support the RWDSU’s Amazon drive so far—Wants Amazon’s help with vaccine distribution? Shadowy lobbyists whispering in his ear? Money money money?—but what we can say for sure is that Candidate Biden sure did ostentatiously make a very big deal of being Mr. I Love Unions guy. And that gives organized labor as a whole an easy chip to play now if we really want to force him to weigh in here. I am fairly certain that if the AFL-CIO and the SEIU and the firefighters union and every other visible labor leader started going on TV tomorrow and loudly demanding that Biden support the Amazon union, he would cave. The cognitive dissonance is just too strong.

That will only happen, though, if unions get loud and demand it. And surely, right this minute, a bunch of union leaders are doing some desperate little math about whether this is worth burning their precious political capital on. That is the wrong way to look at it. Make them fear you! It’s easier to push that car if you never stop pushing.”

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