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Amazon Labor Union Workers Vote Overwhelmingly in Favor of an Affiliation with the Teamsters
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By Associated Press
Published 4 weeks ago on
June 18, 2024

Amazon Labor Union members align with Teamsters in a bid to secure a contract from the online retail giant. (AP/Seth Wenig)

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New York City warehouse workers who are part of the Amazon Labor Union overwhelmingly voted to align themselves with the Teamsters as they try to get a contract from the online retailer.

The ALU members voted 98.3% in favor of the affiliation, which will give them access to additional resources in their effort to bring Amazon to the bargaining table, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said Tuesday.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Joining the Teamsters as an Autonomous Local Union

The ALU will essentially join the Teamsters as an “autonomous” local union with the same rights and duties as a standard chapter, according to the agreement.

The approximately 5,500 Amazon warehouse workers in Staten Island will be represented by a newly chartered ALU-International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1. It will have jurisdiction for Amazon warehouse workers across New York’s five boroughs.

“Together, with hard work, courage, and conviction, the Teamsters and ALU will fight fearlessly to ensure Amazon workers secure the good jobs and safe working conditions they deserve in a union contract,” Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien said in a statement.

Challenges Faced by the Amazon Labor Union

The Amazon Labor Union is the only labor organization to pull off a union win at an Amazon warehouse in the U.S. The group won its election at the Staten Island warehouse in 2022 but hasn’t been able to secure a union contract due to opposition from Amazon.

Both ALU leaders and the Teamsters agreed to the affiliation earlier this month but the move needed to be ratified by workers.

The Teamsters previously said the step would bring it closer to its goal of unionizing Amazon’s non-corporate workforce. The union has been pushing to organize Amazon’s driving workforce, though that effort hasn’t led to any major wins recognized by the company.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, created in 1903, has 1.3 million members in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. O’Brien was elected in 2021 on a platform that emphasized greater organizing at Amazon.

While the ratification is viewed by some as a success for the ALU, the grassroots labor group has faced some challenges, including two election losses at other Amazon warehouses and internal strife about its organizing strategy.

Some organizers have left to form the ALU Democratic Reform Caucus, a dissident group that sued the ALU last year to force an election for new leadership. That election is expected to be held in July outside of the warehouse that voted to unionize, Arthur Schwartz, an attorney who represents the dissident group, said earlier this month.

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