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Bloomberg

Unions Leave Consumer Groups over Amazon Ties

The unions say the group is putting donations from Amazon over fighting for working people

Brian Young's picture
Aug 16, 2021

Three major unions have announced that they will be leaving the National Consumers League (NCL), the nation’s largest consumer advocacy organization. They say that they are resigning immediately over the growing influence that Amazon and their donations are having. The unions say that the Amazon funding has compromised the group’s progressive mission.

According to Bloomberg, the Communications Workers of America (CWA), United Auto Workers (UAW), and the United Food and Commercial Workers  (UFCW) all sent separate letters to the League informing them of the unions' decisions to resign from their roles on the board immediately.

“Unfortunately, it has become increasingly clear over the last several months that NCL leadership now prioritizes donations from anti-worker companies like Amazon ahead of its historic pro-labor and pro-consumer mission,” the presidents of the CWA and UFCW wrote.

The NCL, which was formed in 1899 says that its mission is “to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.” The group said in a 2020 annual report that they had “supported union organizing and minimum wage increases in states across the country.”

However, in March of 2021, as workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama were voting on a union contract, the NCL issued a measured statement. The statement said they supported workers’ right to unionize, that employees were “seeking a stronger voice” on issues such as productivity expectations and that it hoped the company would honor the choice its workers made. They went on to complement the company saying ““We have partnered with Amazon on issues of great import to consumers, including fighting fraud and supporting financial literacy for teens and appreciate the company’s dedication to those concerns and its pledge to support a $15 an hour minimum wage nationally.”

According to Bloomberg, NCL took in donations last year from companies in tech, finance, aviation, and pharmaceutical companies as well as unions and law firms. Executive Director Sally Greenberg refused to comment on the resignations instead saying they were an “internal board matter.”

While the three unions are leaving, there will continue to be union representation on the NCL’s board with SEIU’s Dominique Warren serving as the chair, the AFL-CIO’s Gregory Jefferson Jr. serving as a vice-chair, the United Mine Workers of America’s Levi Allen being a member of the Board of Directors.

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