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How the Teamsters and a Homegrown Union Plan to Take On Amazon
d8a347b41db1ddee634e2d67d08798c102ef09ac
By The New York Times
Published 1 month ago on
June 18, 2024

Two prominent unions, the Amazon Labor Union and the Teamsters, have formed an alliance to collectively challenge Amazon on worker rights and unionization efforts nationwide. (AP/Steven Senne)

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After years of organizing Amazon workers and pressuring the company to bargain over wages and working conditions, two prominent unions are teaming up to challenge the online retailer.

Partnership Between ALU and Teamsters

The partnership was made final after members of the Amazon Labor Union, the only union formally representing Amazon warehouse workers in the United States, overwhelmingly chose to affiliate with the 1.3-million-member International Brotherhood of Teamsters in voting that ended Monday. The vote was overseen by the Amazon union.

The ALU scored a surprise victory in an election at a warehouse in the Staten Island borough of New York City in 2022. But it has yet to begin bargaining with Amazon, which continues to contest the election outcome. Leaders of both unions said the affiliation agreement would put them in a better position to challenge Amazon and would provide the ALU with more money and staff support.

“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,” Sean O’Brien, the Teamsters president, said in a statement Tuesday.

Amazon declined to comment on the affiliation.

Teamsters to Ramp Up Efforts Nationwide

The Teamsters are ramping up their efforts to organize Amazon workers nationwide. The union voted to create an Amazon division in 2021, and O’Brien was elected that year partly on a platform of making inroads at the company.

The Teamsters told the ALU that they had allocated $8 million to support organizing at Amazon, according to ALU President Christian Smalls, and that the larger union was prepared to tap its more than $300 million strike and defense fund to aid in the effort. The Teamsters did not comment on their budget for organizing at Amazon.

The Teamsters also recently reached an affiliation agreement with workers organizing at Amazon’s largest airplane hub in the United States, a Kentucky facility known as KCVG.

The affiliation agreement with the Teamsters, a copy of which was shared with The New York Times, stipulates that the ALU will have the exclusive right within the Teamsters to organize additional Amazon warehouse workers in New York City.

It also gives the ALU a role in the Teamsters’ broader Amazon organizing across the country.

This article originally appeared in The New York Times.

Noam Scheiber
c.2024 The New York Times Company
Distributed by The New York Times Licensing Group

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