Amazon delivery drivers and dispatchers took to the picket lines last night, staging their first-ever strike in the United States. The workers are demanding an end to Amazon’s unfair labour practices and urging the e-commerce giant to engage in negotiations with the Teamsters, addressing concerns over low pay and dangerous working conditions.
“The Teamsters’ strike by Amazon delivery drivers in the U.S. is a courageous stand against the unfair labor practices that have plagued the company for far too long,” said Mathias Bolton, Head of Commerce Sector for UNI Global Union. “These workers are the backbone of Amazon’s operation, and their demands for fair treatment and safe working conditions are absolutely justified. We commend their bravery and solidarity in holding Amazon accountable for its actions. It is high time for Amazon to engage in meaningful dialogue with the Teamsters Union and address the legitimate concerns raised by these essential workers.”
The strike was initiated by delivery drivers and dispatchers at Battle-Tested Strategies (BTS), a Delivery Service Partner (DSP) for Amazon, who formed a union in April in collaboration with Teamsters Local 396 based in Los Angeles. The workers successfully negotiated and ratified a union contract with BTS, marking the first-ever agreement covering workers within Amazon’s extensive delivery network. However, despite having significant control over BTS and the terms and conditions of employment, Amazon has refused to acknowledge and honor the union contract, engaging in numerous unfair labor practices that contravene federal labor law.
“Amazon has no respect for the rule of law, the health of its workers, or the livelihoods of their families,” expressed Randy Korgan, Director of the Teamsters Amazon Division. “Workers are on strike today because the only thing this corporate criminal cares about is profits. We are sending a message to Amazon that violating worker rights will no longer be business as usual.”
Amazon drivers joined forces with the Teamsters due to concerns over their safety while working in extreme temperatures, which regularly exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit during Palmdale summers. Their union contract secures the rights of workers to operate safe equipment and refuse unsafe deliveries. However, implementing these contract protections will necessitate a comprehensive overhaul of Amazon’s exploitative labor practices, given the company’s extensive control over its DSPs.
“The back of an Amazon van feels like an oven in the summer,” shared Cecilia Porter, an Amazon Teamster driver. “I’ve felt dizzy and dehydrated, but if I take a break, I’ll get a call asking why I’m behind on deliveries. We are protecting ourselves and saying our safety comes first.”
As the strike unfolds, workers are steadfast in their commitment to fighting for fair treatment and improved working conditions. With their collective action, they aim to hold Amazon accountable for the well-being of its workforce and send a powerful message that worker rights should never be undermined or disregarded.