The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents more than one million North American workers in industries including parcel delivery and freight, will vote on whether to prioritize organizing Amazon workers and helping them win. union contract or not.
“Amazon is changing the nature of work in our country and reaching many of the core industries of Teamster and its employers,” said the resolution, which will be voted on at the Teamsters conference on Thursday. The company “presents an existential threat to the standards we have set in these industries,” it said.
The resolution says the union will “provide all necessary resources” and will eventually create an Amazon division to help organize workers at the company.
It did not detail the time for such a split or the amount or manpower the union would devote to the effort, and a union spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on those details. there. Last year, the union had more than $200 million in revenue, according to Labor Department records.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Tuesday.
In an opinion column this month for Salon, Randy Korgan, a Teamsters official from Southern California who has been Amazon’s country director since the position was created last year, wrote that the company unions will skip the traditional workplace elections conducted by the National Labor Relations Board. .
Instead, Korgan wrote, the union will focus on building support from both Amazon workers and from other warehouse and delivery workers and community members, and it aims to bring the workforce together. companies come to the bargaining table by arranging strikes, boycotts, demonstrations and other actions. .
Amazon defeated a conventional campaign organized by a union of retail workers at a warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., this year, after which several union leaders argued that the switch to strategies he created. Korgan highlighted could be more effective. Those union leaders point out that federal labor laws give employers a big advantage in election campaigns — allowing companies to hold mandatory anti-work meetings, for example. unions – and the government cannot penalize employers who break the law. (The retail workers union is challenging the results of the election at the Bessemer warehouse, accusing Amazon of threatening workers.)
Support for this approach, however, was still not highly unanimous within the labor movement.
In an interview after the Alabama election, Stuart Appelbaum, head of the retail workers union that oversaw the campaign, said finding a way to win union elections at Amazon warehouses should remains a focus. “If you want to build real power, you have to do it with a majority of workers,” Mr. Appelbaum said at the time.
The Teamsters union holds its congress every five years and uses it to set priorities that the union will pursue until the next congress. The resolution states that momentum for the Amazon campaign has been building since the union’s last congress in 2016.
During that time, the various Teamster divisions “followed Amazon’s growth, presence, and impact on Teamster industries and spoke to thousands of workers to develop different operating theories.” on how best to engage and support Amazon employees.”