Teamsters' push to organize Amazon: Will it work?

www.latimes.com
5 min read
fairly difficult
The Teamsters, one of America's largest unions, votes to help organize Amazon warehouse and delivery workers in a nationwide effort.
Delegates to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters convention voted overwhelmingly for a nationwide push to organize hundreds of thousands of Amazon's warehouse and delivery workers, a formidable task given the e-commerce behemoth's fierce antiunion stance.

"We will organize Amazon," said the union's outgoing general president, James P. Hoffa. "In my more than two decades of service, I've yet to see a threat quite like the one Amazon presents to hardworking people, small businesses, the logistics industry and our nation's middle class."

Thursday's vote, which took place virtually, was 1,562 to 9, in favor of a resolution to help mobilize workers at the Seattle e-commerce giant.

With 1.4 million members, the Teamsters will "fully fund and supply all resources necessary" to address "Amazon's exploitation of its employees, contractors and employees of contractors," the resolution stated.

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The union last year appointed Randy Korgan, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 1932 in San Bernardino, to a position as national director for Amazon, and said it would create an Amazon division dedicated to the campaign.

The new effort is aimed not just at growing the ranks of organized labor but also at protecting wages, benefits and workplace standards in Teamster-represented companies such as UPS, which are under pressure to replicate Amazon's relentless push for speed and productivity.

With the explosive growth of e-commerce, Amazon now employs 1 million workers and is on pace to become the nation's largest private employer. The Seattle-based company did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Teamster locals have yet to file petitions under National Labor Relations Board rules to represent Amazon employees, according to a spokeswoman, despite the union's dominance in labor-represented logistics industries.

The challenge of organizing Amazon facility by facility became clear in April, when workers at its giant warehouse in Bessemer, Ala.…
Margot Roosevelt
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