Teamsters Plan to Unionize Amazon Workers Via Amazon Project

Illustration for article titled Teamsters Announce Huge New Plan to Unionize U.S. Amazon Workers

Photo: Patrick T. FALLON / AFP (Getty Images)

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, one of America’s most prominent labor organizations, is expected to launch a nationwide effort to organize Amazon workers.

The Teamsters, which have 500 chapters scattered throughout the U.S. and Canada and represent some 1.4 million workers, said in a statement Tuesday that they hope to make unionization at the company their “highest priority.”

An internal resolution related to the proposed effort, first reported by Motherboard, was distributed internally this week to union chapters throughout the country. The document was subsequently shared with Gizmodo by an IBT representative.

Dubbed the “Amazon Project,” the campaign would focus specifically on organizing the company’s logistics workers who toil in its many warehouses (or “fulfillment centers,” as Amazon calls them).

Motherboard reports that the Teamsters are planning “a series of pressure campaigns involving work stoppages, petitions, and other collective action” to compel the tech giant to improve its working conditions.

We’ve reached out to Amazon for comment on the Teamsters’ potential union push and will update once we receive a response.

Union chapter leaders will vote on the resolution Thursday to determine whether to pursue the Amazon campaign. The resolution is expected to pass, Kara Deniz, the Teamsters’ senior communications coordinator, said via phone.

If enacted, it will create a special division within the Teamsters, dedicated to “specifically aid Amazon workers and defend industry standards that the Teamsters have set in the logistics industry over the past 100 years,” the organization said.

The campaign is the latest example of efforts by organized labor to combat Amazon’s hellish working conditions. It follows a failed effort to unionize a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, earlier this year.

The tech giant has been widely condemned for its labor practices, which reportedly include a grueling hourly pace, relentless surveillance, and a general, callous attitude towards the well-being of its workers amidst the pandemic.

“The IBT Convention recognizes the existential threat of Amazon to our members and commits all levels of the union to unite with core platforms of member engagement, worker and community engagement, antitrust enforcement and policy reform, and global solidarity,” reads the IBT resolution.