America’s largest labour union passed a resolution on Thursday to aid Amazon workers who have aspired to unionise.
The Teamsters drafted the resolution in the wake of several years in which Amazon has become a major focus for the union as Amazon’s effect on blue-collar workers has increased.
About 99% of nearly 1,500 delegates from the Teamsters union, which represents over a million employees across North America, voted in favour of the resolution at the union’s 30th annual convention, which was hosted online. This union-supported resolution outlines that the union will supply all the resources required and establish a dedicated department to organise Amazon workers.
In the resolution, the Teamsters union commented on how Amazon is shifting the labour market in our country. Members of the Teamsters Union of North America will support Amazon workers in their effort to find a true voice on the job.
Amazon didn’t reply to the inquiry about the outcome. A union is unnecessary because the company claims that its workers receive pay and benefits that a union could negotiate for. It’s also stated that it prioritises workplace input and improvements.
On April 24, employees at a Bessemer, Ala., warehouse overwhelmingly voted against becoming part of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. A closely watched vote measured the strength of the U.S. labour unions. The RWDSU has challenged the election results.
As of now, the Teamsters have not yet committed resources to the matter.
The group isn’t Amazon workers, but it is now devoting increasing resources to organising Amazon employees. This is the first time the Teamsters have taken a stand against Amazon. The group holds a convention every five years to set long-term goals. The Teamsters’ United Parcel Service, or UPS, is by far the single largest employer of union members.
The resolution establishes a comprehensive approach while appealing to the sentiments of our members, according to Teamsters head lobbyist Randy Korgan.
As the pandemic began, workers communicated with the union more frequently and sought guidance about organising, including strikes. Other options, besides gaining representation through the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), have been sought by union officials.
Mr. Korgan was recently hired as Amazon’s National Director to concentrate on the company. The union said that membership has remained steady during economic downturns. The group declared that it ranks fifth in the country in terms of membership.
The Teamsters resolution outlines Amazon’s growing power in retail and other industries. Amazon has seen strong demand for its products due to the outbreak. The company, which also runs extremely successful cloud computing and advertising businesses, raked in $386 billion last year.
Amazon is still being chastised for the working conditions of its warehouse and delivery drivers, many of whom are employed by third-party firms.Employees have to package or sort hundreds of items per hour, with only a few minutes to eat or rest.
Turnover has been an issue for the company for many years, and the injury rates are above the industry average. Amazon has stated that it limits employee workload, and keeps an eye on work-related injuries, potentially inflating the injury rates.
However, the union faces numerous difficulties as a result of the resolution. Amazon employees are not unionised, and organising them has proven difficult. Also, due to US labour laws favouring employers, labour researchers say, antiunion meetings are hosted at the workplace. Staff churn within the company adds to its difficulties. Over 850,000 people work for Amazon, most of them in its warehouses.
Ruth Milkman, a sociologist at the CUNY School of Labor and Urban Studies, says the difficulties are great. In contrast, “Working people are back on the national agenda in a way they haven’t been for decades.”
Membership has decreased in recent American unions. Union representation is 6.3% in the private sector, down from 24.2% in 1973, according to data from Georgia State University. In addition to unsuccessful efforts, other unions, including the UFCW, tried to unionise Walmart stores.
Safety has recently been improved, as well as the company’s hourly jobs. It rolled out a new wellness programme in May for employees, boosted pay for over 500, with more increases on the way, and is loosening a longstanding workplace policy known as “time off tasks” which has monitored employee productivity.
Despite the results in Alabama, union leaders vowed to continue fighting the company. The RWDSU is determined to make sure that workers’ voices are heard fairly under the law. Workers across the country have previously protested outside of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ home. The actions have had only a limited impact on Amazon’s business.