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UFCW: House Vote on Big Tech Monopolies Key to Holding Companies Like Amazon Accountable for Worker Safety

June 24, 2021

Amazon Regional HQ Sunnyvale, CA

Union for 1.3 Million Retail and Food Workers Applauds Bipartisan Vote by House Judiciary Committee to Rein in Big Tech Monopolies Like Amazon That Silence Whistleblowers on COVID Worker Safety 

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), which represents 1.3 million frontline food and retail workers, applauded the House Judiciary Committee for passing bipartisan legislation to strengthen accountability for big tech companies like AmazonFacebook, and many others. 

UFCW has been a national voice for frontline tech and gig economy workers during the pandemic, leading campaigns to unionize workers at Amazon in AlabamaInstacart in ChicagoUber in Canada, and Imperfect Foods grocery delivery in California.

Tech companies like Amazon have a history of anti-worker behavior, including firing worker whistleblowers, using tools to fight efforts to unionize, pushing automation to eliminate jobs, and failing to prevent COVID infections among their frontline employees during the pandemic.

UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:

“This strong bipartisan vote sends a powerful message to Big Tech that Congress is ready to hold these companies accountable to the millions of Americans they serve.

“Throughout the pandemic these powerful tech companies have consistently put profits first and workers have paid the price. Amazon failed to prevent COVID outbreaks at the company’s warehouses and Whole Foods grocery stores across the country. Facebook launched a tool to allow companies to censor employees trying to unionize. And at gig economy companies like Instacart, frontline workers were forced to buy their own masks, gloves, and PPE when the pandemic began and they were facing daily exposure to the virus. 

“As the nation’s largest union for food and retail workers on the frontlines of this pandemic, UFCW applauds the committee’s vote to strengthen accountability of Big Tech. Americans need to know that Congress will hold these tech companies accountable to consumers, and the time for action is now.”

BACKGROUND:

UFCW has been a leading national voice calling for great accountability from technology companies and advocating for America’s gig workers. UFCW has brought attention to jobs of essential workers being threatened by Amazon and Instacart by each company’s choice to put technology and profits before workers’ and their communities’ well-being. UFCW has also called out companies like Instacart for choosing to replace workers with independent contractors and robots. In addition, UFCW has highlighted Amazon and Facebook’s anti-union practices, including retaliatory firings of worker activists and promoting a tool that allows companies to censor workers trying to unionize.

In the House Judiciary Committee markup, lawmakers approved the following legislation with strong bipartisan support:

  • The “American Innovation and Choice Online Act” to prohibit discriminatory conduct by dominant platforms, including a ban on self-preferencing and picking winners and losers online. The bill is sponsored by Chairman Cicilline and co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Lance Gooden (TX-05).
  • The “Platform Competition and Opportunity Act” prohibits acquisitions of competitive threats by dominant platforms, as well as acquisitions that expand or entrench the market power of online platforms. The bill is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (NY-08) and co-sponsored by Ranking Member Buck.
  • The “Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act” promotes competition online by lowering barriers to entry and switching costs for businesses and consumers through interoperability and data portability requirements. This bill is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (PA-05) and co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Burgess Owens (UT-04).
  • The “Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act” updates filing fees for mergers for the first time in two decades to ensure that the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission have the resources they need to aggressively enforce the antitrust laws. This bill is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Joe Neguse (CO-02) and co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz (IN-05).
  • The “Ending Platform Monopolies Act” eliminates the ability of dominant platforms to leverage their control across multiple business lines to self-preference and disadvantage competitors in ways that undermine free and fair competition. The bill is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (WA-07) and co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Lance Gooden (TX-05).

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UFCW is the largest private sector union in the United States. UFCW International represents 1.3 million professionals and their families in healthcare, grocery stores, meatpacking, food processing, retail shops and other industries. Our members serve our communities in all 50 states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Learn more about the UFCW at ufcw.org.