What you need to know
- The International Brotherhood of Teamsters has announced a new resolution to try to unionize Amazon workers.
- The organization will create a dedicated Amazon Division to help support Amazon workers and related industries.
- The resolution comes just days after the massive shopping Prime Day event.
The "Amazon Project," as the initiative is called, aims to address working conditions for Amazon workers and will be fully funded by the union.
Randy Korgan, Teamsters National Director for Amazon, says that Amazon workers have no voice while working in dehumanizing and low-paying positions. "Amazon workers are calling for safer and better working conditions and with today's resolution we are activating the full force of our union to support them."
The main goal of the resolution is to provide support and "working power" for Amazon workers. Obtaining a union contract is a "top priority" of the IBT, but it will also address the peripheral impacts of Amazon's business on various industries like logistics and small businesses.
Amazon is changing the nature of work in our country and touches many core Teamster industries and employers such as UPS, parcel delivery, freight, airline, food distribution and motion picture, and presents an existential threat to the standards we have set in these industries.
Amazon was not immediately available for comment.
The vote comes just days after Amazon's major Prime Day sales event, which saw deep discounts for many of the best Android smartwatches, the best Android phones, and plenty of accessories. Prior to the event, Amazon boasted that Prime Day made more than $3.5 billion for small businesses in 2020.
Last year, Amazon ramped up hiring amid the COVID-19 pandemic due to increased online spending. The company increased wages by $2 per hour to entice new employees. However, warehouse workers faced higher work-related injuries at Amazon than any other company.
According to data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) (via The Washington Post), the average number of serious injuries at Amazon warehouses in 2020 was nearly double that of injuries recorded at Walmart, Amazon's biggest competitor.
In April, Amazon workers at a warehouse in Alabama famously voted against unionizing with another large labor organization, instead deciding to take matters into their own hands. A vote to unionize could have signaled a change for Amazon workers throughout the company and was even endorsed by President Biden.
Still, while that attempt to unionize failed, the IBT is confident in its efforts to help Amazon workers get organized.
"Our 1.4 million Teamster members, their families and communities stand together in solidarity with Amazon workers," says Teamster General President Jim Hoffa. "We commit our union's full support as they build worker power for a better future."
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