With the new political changes, like many other platforms, Amazon has cozied up to the Democratic Party. Its political action committee and company executives are among those who threw their money behind President Joe Biden on the campaign trail, while Amazon’s top spokesperson, Jay Carney, has longstanding ties to Biden. However, this doesn’t mean smooth functioning between the two entities for the next 4 years during the tenure of Biden’s administration. There exist a few issues like Antitrust reform, stronger privacy standards, and a renewed push for workers’ rights that could be on the new administration’s agenda.
After going through a rough patch with trump’s administration, labor is in hopes that Biden will prove to be the “most pro-union president” as he promises. For that, amazon keeps a keen eye on the new administration’s moves in the labor context since it faces a renewed push from unions to organize its warehouse workers. Biden has not only made empowering workers a key element of his labor agenda to provide him with various reforms to labor laws and expand worker protections but also has voiced for the support of protecting the right to organize activities. This act would levy fines against companies that interfere with workers’ organizing efforts.
Although Biden’s support of the labor movement has the potential to reignite union membership This could pose a threat to Amazon, which has staunchly resisted unions in its workforce.
While Biden and Amazon may not see eye to eye on unions, the company is in agreement with Biden on one issue: raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
Secondly, Biden has also telegraphed plans to expand workplace protections by restoring some Obama-era reforms to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which were rolled back by the Trump administration. This could mean that Amazon and other companies face stricter enforcement of OSHA standards. Amazon has supported its workplace safety team with a number of people who have ties to OSHA and employment litigation as scrutiny of its warehouse working conditions continues to grow. The company added another staffer from the agency to the workplace safety team this month when it brought on Madeleine T. Le, a former OSHA lawyer, as senior governance and compliance manager.
Biden has offered few hints on how he would approach antitrust issues, beyond expressing concern over the power Silicon Valley giants wield in tech and other industries, signalling that he will take a tougher stance. While Google and Facebook are currently the focus of investigations on the federal level, Amazon is unlikely to escape antitrust scrutiny with Biden in the Oval Office. Amazon is already being probed by Federal Trade Commission officials over its business practices in retail and cloud computing, according to reports from several outlets.
Another tech policy that’s likely to be in focus in the new administration is Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, which shields tech companies from being liable for what users post on their platforms. Amazon has invoked Section 230 as a defense in some product liability lawsuits concerning faulty products sold on its website, arguing that it merely provides the platform for third-party merchants to hawk their wares, so it’s not actually the seller. Hence, Biden has called for Section 230 to be revoked, arguing that companies should be held accountable for hosting content they know to be false.