Amazon Labor Union joins Teamsters union amid strife

The Amazon Labor Union, a grassroots labor group that won a major victory at an Amazon warehouse two years ago, has agreed to join the Teamsters union, a move that will undoubtedly inject new energy into the struggling organization.

Teamsters General President Sean M. O'Brien announced the affiliation Tuesday during the union's general executive meeting in Washington, the union wrote in a post on X.

If ratified, members of the Amazon Labor Union, who belong to a warehouse in New York City's Staten Island borough, will essentially join the Teamsters as an “autonomous” local union with the same rights and obligations as a standard chapter, according to the agreement.

The Teamsters said the board has already unanimously approved the affiliation, a step that will bring them closer their goal to unite Amazon's non-business workforce.

Amazon union president Chris Smalls wrote in a post on X that the labor group was joining forces “with one of the most powerful unions to take on Amazon.”

“Our message is clear: we want a contract and we want it now,” Smalls wrote, referring to the union contract his organization still has not been able to secure, more than two years after becoming the only one ever to win a labor victory booked. in the Amazon warehouse in the US

Since then, the ALU has faced many other challenges, including two election losses at other Amazon warehouses and internal strife over its organizational strategy. Some organizers left to form the ALU Democratic Reform Caucus, a dissident group that sued the union last year to force elections for new leadership. Those elections are expected to take place in July outside the warehouse that voted to unionize, said Arthur Schwartz, a lawyer representing the dissident group.

The agreement announced by the leaders of both organizations is already facing opposition from the caucus. Schwartz said the Teamsters have indicated they want ALU members to ratify the new agreement before the union holds its internal leadership elections in July. But he said this will pose a challenge because the ALU currently does not have an updated membership list, which the caucus has been seeking for the internal elections currently underway.

Representatives for Amazon and the Teamsters did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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