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  • Writer's pictureKaren Young

Amazon Labor Union and Teamsters Come For Amazon



Welcome to Winning Wednesday!

 

The Amazon Labor Union, a plucky band of Amazon workers at a warehouse in Staten Island,  New York City, formed an independent union and won the right to organize there about two years ago.  Today, June 5, they announced an affiliation with the Teamsters, a formidable union in the logistics sector, including 200,000 drivers at UPS. 

 

ALU President Chris Smalls said on Twitter:  “We’re putting Amazon on notice that we are coming!”


How ALU and Teamsters came together

 

According to Labor Notes, “Teamsters launched an Amazon Division last year to bring together various Amazon organizing efforts under one big tent.

 

‘If we’re going to bring Amazon to the table, we need to build a national movement of Amazon workers who are strike-ready,’ said Connor Spence, who is running for ALU president. ‘Trying to build that without some kind of institutional backing is a long shot.’  [Indeed, ALU has not been able to get a contract in New York or win elections at other warehouses.  Amazon is virulently anti-union.]

 

Amazon Teamsters have extended picket lines to other Amazon facilities after the Teamsters organized delivery drivers in Palmdale, California, last April. These 84 workers were nominally employed by an Amazon contractor, the Southern California company Battle-Tested Strategies—one of 2,500 "delivery service partners" that carry out package deliveries while Amazon retains full control.

 

Since then, more of the independent groups organizing at Amazon have worked with the Teamsters, hoping its backing can help them organize their own facilities.”

 

Also today, the Warehouse Workers Worker Injury Act passed the New York State Senate!

 

Amazon:  The World's Worst Villain?

 

According to Wikipedia, Amazon’s 2023 revenue was nearly $575 billion.  As of 2023, it is the world's largest online retailer and marketplace (and has numerous other businesses).  Jeff Bezos, the founder and executive chairman of Amazon, is the third wealthiest person in the world, with a net worth of $201 billion as of June 3, 2024. He was the # 1 wealthiest person from 2017 to 2021.


Amazon and Bezos are famous for paying no taxes in the US.


What Amazon Workers Face

 

Meanwhile, a recent study showed that of American Amazon warehouse workers, in addition to suffering above-average injury rates compared to other warehouse workers:

 

– 53% recently experienced food insecurity [aka hunger]

– 48% experienced housing insecurity

– 56% have not been able to pay all their bills

– One-third (33%) have used publicly funded assistance programs like SNAP

 

There is power in a union!  Amazon has fucked around and is about to find out!

 


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