Amazon Labor Union votes to join forces with Teamsters

Amazon Labor Union votes to join forces with Teamsters

An Amazon Labor Union rally in the Staten Island borough of New York, on Sunday, April 24, 2022.

Victor J. Blue | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Members of the Amazon Labor Union, the first group of company workers to organize at a U.S. warehouse, have voted to affiliate with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, the groups said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

Roughly 98% of ALU members voted in favor of joining up with the Teamsters, the groups said. The ALU and the Teamsters announced earlier this month that they were taking steps to affiliate, saying the last step was a vote from rank-and-file ALU members to ratify the move.

The news could pressure Amazon to come to the bargaining table with the ALU, a union based in New York, which is still trying to negotiate with the company.

“Together, with hard work, courage, and conviction, the Teamsters and ALU will fight fearlessly to ensure Amazon workers secure the good jobs and safe working conditions they deserve in a union contract,” Sean O’Brien, general president of the Teamsters, said in a statement.

The ALU gained national attention two years ago after it won a historic victory at one of Amazon’s warehouses in Staten Island, New York, known as the JFK8 facility. The group, started by current and former JFK8 employees, initially established itself as a grassroots, independent labor organization.

But the group has struggled to negotiate a contract with Amazon, which sought to toss out the 2022 election results. And rifts formed between some members and ALU president Chris Smalls. The ALU is expected to hold an election this summer to determine the union’s next leadership.

The Teamsters is one of the largest labor unions in the U.S., and it has long sought to organize Amazon delivery and warehouse workers. The union launched an Amazon division in 2021 to support and fund workers at the company in their unionization efforts.

As part of the agreement announced Tuesday, the newly formed local chapter, known as ALU-International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 1, will also have the right to organize Amazon warehouse workers “across New York’s five boroughs,” the groups said in a joint statement.

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