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One the nation’s largest labour unions has passed a resolution committing to “supply all resources necessary” to help unionise workers at Amazon, soon to be the nation’s largest retailer, as a “top priority.”
At its 30th international convention, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters approved a “historic” resolution for its Amazon Project, as the company’s workers continue a nationwide organising effort following a high-profile union vote in Bessemer, Alabama.
Randy Korgan, national director of the union’s recently created Amazon Division, said in a statement that “Amazon poses an existential threat to the rights and standards our members have fought for and won.”
“But it also poses a tremendous opportunity for us to engage our members, build large volunteer organizing committees, build even stronger community labor alliances, more deeply integrate racial and other social justice struggles into our work and more,” he said.
The resolution from Teamsters, which has roughly 1.6 million members, follows Amazon’s anti-union campaign at its Alabama warehouse, where fewer than 30 per cent of workers agreed to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union in April.
RWDSU has reported more than 1,000 workers who contacted the union about organising their own workplaces, while recently launched grassroots campaigns and advocacy groups have also supported Amazon workers in their union efforts, demanding workplace safety protections, higher and more secure wages, hazard pay provisions and an end to the company’s practice of near-constant worker surveillance, among other measures workers have sought through collective bargaining agreements.
In its resolution, the union argues that Amazon has single-handedly changed “the nature of work” among members’ industries, while displacing thousands of jobs and exploiting employees as the company builds enormous profits,
“Teamsters have been building power in the logistics industry since before meaningful labor law was enacted in this country,” the resolution says.
“Building genuine worker power at Amazon will require shop-floor militancy by Amazon workers in addition to unquestioned solidarity from warehousing and delivery Teamsters,” it reads. “Building worker power at Amazon and helping those workers achieve a union contract is a top priority.”
The Independent has requested comment from Amazon.