Amazon Contract Drivers in California Join Teamsters Union

Palmdale, Calif. Drivers Announce Plan to Join Teamsters Local 396
An Inc. delivery driver takes an order from a delivery van
An Inc. delivery driver takes an order from a delivery van in Westcliff-on-Sea, U.K. (Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg News)

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More than 80 contract drivers and dispatchers who handle deliveries for Inc. have joined the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

The drivers work for one of many Amazon Delivery Service Partners, small businesses that rent vans, hire drivers and ferry packages for the e-commerce giant. The workers in Palmdale, Calif., east of Los Angeles, are joining Teamsters Local 396, the union announced April 24.

“Amazon workers are joining the Teamsters to demand more from this company, including good wages, safe working conditions and respect,” said Randy Korgan, Teamsters Amazon division director and Teamsters Joint Council 42 director of organizing. “The Teamsters are coordinating nationwide with Amazon workers, allies committed to holding this corporation accountable, and our union’s 1.2 million members to make sure Amazon provides the benefits and protections that working people deserve.”

The 84 workers have a tentative agreement with their employer, Battle-Tested Strategies, the union said. It’s scheduled to be voted on in the coming weeks and includes pay raises and a grievance procedure. The Teamsters represent UPS Inc. drivers, who earn more and get better benefits than their Amazon counterparts.

Amazon didn’t immediately reply to an email seeking comment. Battle-Tested Strategies didn’t respond to a message sent through a contact form on what appears to be the firm’s website, which says the company was founded in 2018 and joined Amazon’s Delivery Service Partner program the following year. Globally, there are about 3,000 Amazon delivery contracting firms that employ 275,000 drivers.

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The Amazon Labor Union won a historic election at an Amazon facility in New York last year — the only time a union has won the right to represent the company’s U.S. workers. But the grassroots ALU was defeated in two subsequent elections by wide margins. Amazon has refused to bargain with the union, and the company’s lengthy appeals process means contract negotiations are likely a long way off.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, meanwhile, is seeking to represent workers at an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala. Federal officials determined that Amazon’s conduct during a vote there in 2021 made a fair election impossible, but a rerun election hinges on contested ballots.

Amazon ranks No. 19 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America.

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