Amazon tips scales in Seattle Council election’s business-versus-labor struggle

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bazos

FILE – In this Sept. 6, 2012 file photo, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos speaks in Santa Monica, Calif. Bezos plans to buy The Washington Post for $250 million. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

In the weeks ahead of Seattle City Council’s hotly contested elections, Amazon has injected more than $1 million in cash into the pro-business political organization seeking to reshape the Council.

That brings Amazon’s total contributions to the Seattle Metro Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee, which seeks to elect a more business-friendly Council, to $1.45 million this election cycle.

Amazon’s unprecedented political campaign spending underscores the high stakes in the election’s business-versus-labor struggle. The Council has built a reputation for passing tough labor laws and business regulations, such as the $15 minimum wage and recent hotel-worker protections.

Labor union-affiliated groups have together thrown more than $1.6 million into the Seattle race, according to the Seattle Chamber’s PAC, called The Civilian Alliance for a Sound Economy (CASE), slightly offsetting Amazon’s influence.

But the tech giant’s donations alone represent more than the combined amount of all of the candidates CASE opposes have raised through their own campaigns, according to the Seattle Times.

Amazon has accused the Council of “anti-business” bias for passing laws like last year’s “head tax” on large employers in Seattle. In protest of the tax, Amazon threatened to slow its growth in Seattle by pausing plans for two major expansions and contributed to a No Tax On Jobs campaign. The Council repealed the bill and Amazon resumed plans on only one of the projects.

Amazon workers fighting to keep their jobs have at times complained about the company’s hardball firing practices, alleging that claims of discrimination, workplace retaliation and protections under the Family and Medical Leave Act went unheard.

Emery Reddy helps workers. Call us at if you have an L&I, workers’ comp, discrimination, wrongful termination, injury, or employment law claim. You won’t get better advice.

« | »