Amazon’s First U.S. Labor Union Allies With Teamsters

The independent labour union that represents Amazon employees is legally affiliating with the Teamsters, a move that might help revitalise the floundering organisation. 

TakeAway Points:

  • The independent labour union representing Amazon workers is moving to formally affiliate with the Teamsters, an alliance that could help revive the struggling organization.
  • Amazon has not acknowledged the labour union in its Staten Island warehouse, and the company is still fighting the election’s outcome there in a lengthy court battle that might take years, more than two years after the ALU’s triumph.

Amazon’s Labor Union joins Teamsters

The union scored a major victory at an Amazon warehouse in New York in 2022.

As part of the union’s continuous campaign to organise at Amazon, the nation’s second-largest private employer, members of the Amazon Labour Union will now be a part of the Teamsters organisation, subject to confirmation.

However, Amazon has not acknowledged the labour union in its Staten Island warehouse, and the company is still fighting the election’s outcome there in a lengthy court battle that might take years, more than two years after the ALU’s triumph. The failure of federal labour authorities to require Amazon to start bargaining with the union is reportedly frustrating ALU leaders.

ALU Leadership rift

There has been a rift in the ALU leadership since its historic victory, which sparked numerous subsequent campaigns around the nation. There has been ongoing litigation between the two parties as a result of allegations made by certain union leaders that Chris Smalls, the campaign’s face and president, spent union funds on a press tour while neglecting crucial organising work.

Smalls stated that ALU is “worker-driven… not Chris led” and referred to the lawsuit as “stupid.”

After a phase of excessive growth in reaction to the coronavirus epidemic, Amazon curtailed its expansion, postponed the launch of certain warehouses, and this week officially announced the closure of warehouses located in California and Washington state. Federal occupational health and safety officials, a congressional committee led by Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), and the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York are all looking into the matter. The latter is looking into allegations that Amazon disguised worker injuries.

Amazon to be build a Union

Amazon is attempting to become a union at the same time that Americans are becoming more enthusiastic about labour unions, which achieved historic victories in 2017 following strikes that affected some sectors of the economy. After a contentious walkout against Detroit automakers last autumn, the United Auto Workers, led by its new president, Shawn Fain, were awarded significant wages and other benefits. T

hen in April, in a Tennessee Volkswagen plant, the union held a landslide vote in favour of the union. In the meantime, thousands of Kaiser Permanente nurses and Hollywood stars have quit in protest of their low salaries.

The labour movement still has a long way to go. A record low of just 10% of American workers belonged to a union last year, partly because of the country’s workforce’s rapid expansion. However, despite a string of well-publicized successes at businesses that were previously nonunion, such Starbucks, Trader Joe’s, and REI, the first union contracts for employees have not yet been achieved.

In order to organise Amazon, Smalls told The Post that joining the Teamsters as an affiliate “makes sense as opposed to working on individual initiatives.”