UPDATED 22:02 EDT / JUNE 18 2024


Amazon’s first labor union partners with the Teamsters

Members of the Amazon Labor Union, the one and only unionized Amazon warehouse, have voted to join forces with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

Workers at Amazon.com Inc.’s JFK8 fulfillment center in Staten Island voted to unionize in 2022, becoming the first and still the only Amazon warehouse to make such a decision. At the time, Amazon said it was “disappointed” with the move, which wasn’t surprising given the company has been indefatigable in trying to prevent its workers from unionizing across the U.S.

The victory for the workers at JFK8 hasn’t done much for them, with reports stating that officials at Amazon later refused to sit down with them at the negotiating table. After what was reported as a “historic win,” it seems the ALU has been stuck in the weeds, unable get the attention of the almighty ship of the world’s largest online retailer. The ALU “never stood a chance,” Bloomberg reported earlier this year.

That’s where the International Brotherhood of Teamsters comes in. It’s a 1.3 million-strong force of unionized workers in the U.S. — a country where just 10% of workers belong to a union compared with 20% in 1983 when the Labor Department started keeping records of such numbers. Now, the ALU-International Brotherhood of Teamsters will represent the 5,500 JFK8 workers, offering an injection of cash and perhaps forcing Amazon to recognize the union.

“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 President Sean O’Brien said in a statement today.

For years now, Amazon’s warehouses have come under the gun for what workers have often said are grueling conditions. The company has been criticized time and again for its alleged unsafe working conditions in what workers have said is an environment in which the bosses embrace performance metrics.

“On behalf of the Amazon Labor Union, I’m proud of our members choosing a path to victory,” ALU President Chris Smalls said in a press release. “We’re now stronger than ever before. Having the support of 1.3 million Teamsters to take on Amazon gives us tremendous worker power and the opportunities to demand better conditions for our members and, most importantly, to secure a contract at JFK8.”

Photo: Joe Piette/Flickr

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