Amazon Faces Wider Fight Over Labor Practices
Perhaps the most important voice in this discussion is the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which has more than one million members, which approved a resolution at its convention in June urging the union to “provide all necessary resources” to organize and assist company workers. win a union contract.
The Teamsters argue that holding union votes on individual job sites is generally futile in a company like Amazon, because labor law allows employers to conduct aggressive anti-union campaigns, and because high turnover means workers Union supporters often leave the company before they have had a chance to vote.
Instead, the Teamsters favor a combination of tactics like strikes, protests and boycotts that pressure the company to show up to the bargaining table and negotiate a contract covering wages, benefits. and working conditions. While the union has not detailed its tactics, it recently staged walkouts involving drivers and dockworkers at a southern California port to protest the treatment of drivers.
They’re hoping to enlist help from workers at other businesses, sympathetic consumers, and even local businesses threatened by a giant like Amazon, in part to alleviate the challenges of high staff turnover.
“Building our relationships within the community itself is the way to manage this,” said Randy Korgan, a Southern California Teamsters official and union national director for Amazon, in a recent interview. “We could have called for an election in several places over the past year, entered into that process, but we realize that the electoral process has its flaws.”
The union believes it can pull a variety of political levers to help put the company on the defensive. Mr Korgan cited a recent Fort Wayne, Indiana city council vote denying Amazon a tax deduction after a local Teamsters official spoke out against it, and an Arvada, Colorado city council vote for reject one more over a 100,000 square foot Amazon delivery station. While Arvada’s vote centered on traffic issues, the Teamsters played a role in mobilizing the opposition.
In California, the Teamsters have partnered with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor and the Warehouse Worker Resource Center, an advocacy group, to support a bill that would require some employers to disclose the often opaque productivity quotas applied to workers. workers, that they can be sanctioned or fired for non-compliance. The legislative language makes it clear that Amazon is the primary target.
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