Amazon Labor Union is affiliated with Teamsters

The Amazon Labor Union will join the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, giving the fledgling union the support of one of the most powerful forces in labor, Teamsters announced on Tuesday.

Teamsters said the membership decision was unanimously approved by the union's board of directors on Tuesday, although details of the merger were not immediately made clear. The union represents approximately 1.3 million workers in the U.S. and Canada.

“Today is a historic day for labor in America as we now join forces with one of the most powerful unions to take on Amazon,” said ALU President Christian Smalls. said on social media platform X. “Our message is clear: we want a contract, and we want it now. We'll let Amazon know we're coming!”

ALU was founded in 2022 as a grassroots organization representing workers at Amazon's JFK8 warehouse in New York City. Workers became the first Amazon warehouse workers nationwide to be represented by a union.

The union has faced challenges in recent years after a union drive failed at a second Amazon facility in New York City and faced a lawsuit from former leaders over the leadership election process.

The JFK8 facility remains the only unionized Amazon warehouse in the country, and the union is in the process of negotiating its first labor contract. An effort to organize warehouses in Alabama affiliated with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union also failed in 2021.

Teamsters, meanwhile, has one of the biggest union victories. The company negotiated a new contract with UPS in July, significantly increasing wages and benefits.

Teamsters launched its own Amazon division last year, promising to bring together the diverse efforts of Amazon unions under its banner. During the UPS negotiations last summer, labor experts told The Hill that Amazon is a logical next step for Teamsters' expansion.

“It's clear that this is a union that has deep roots in warehousing and logistics, distribution and Amazon-style work. And they have, I think, ambitions to try to organize workers in this industry, including Amazon,” Bob Bussel, director of the University of Oregon Labor Education and Research Center, told The Hill.

“The upshot of this, if they are recognizable gains for workers as a result of collective action that the union can actually deliver, is that this will send a very strong signal to workers at Amazon and workers in other places that there is a strong union that really prepared to take collective action and effective action on their behalf,” he added.

Amazon has successfully resisted unionization efforts for years. In 2022 alone, the country spent $14 million on anti-labor advice, more than three times what Starbucks, the country's largest provider of anti-labor advice, spent in 2021.

The Hill has contacted the Teamsters and Smalls for comment.

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