Amazon Contract Drivers in California Join Teamsters Union

(Bloomberg) -- More than 80 contract drivers and dispatchers who handle deliveries for Amazon.com Inc. have joined the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.Most Read from BloombergTucker Carlson Leaves Fox News in Shakeup After SettlementFour Reasons Why Investors Expect US Dollar to Keep SlidingBud Light Takes the Cowardly Way OutMacron’s Push to Get China’s Help on Ukraine Is UnravelingHedge Funds Place Biggest Ever Short on Benchmark TreasuriesThe drivers work for one of many Amazon Deliver Read More...

(Bloomberg) — More than 80 contract drivers and dispatchers who handle deliveries for Amazon.com Inc. have joined the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.

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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, California, east of Los Angeles, are joining Teamsters Local 396, the union announced Monday.

“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 United Parcel Service Inc. drivers, who earn more and get better benefits than their Amazon counterparts.

Johnathon Ervin, who owns Battle-Tested Strategies, said his business has delivered 10 million Amazon packages since it began in October 2019. Ervin said he has relayed his drivers’ concerns about pay and van upkeep to Amazon, but that the company hasn’t done anything.

He said his average driver earns $19.75 per hour and that the Teamsters agreement calls for a 30-cent raise in May.

“We are going to work out some agreements and hopefully we can bring Amazon to the table for further enhancements to the morale and welfare of our drivers,” Ervin said.

Amazon didn’t immediately reply to an email seeking comment.

Read More: When Amazon Puts a Warehouse Next Door: ‘We Can’t Escape It’

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 US 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, Alabama. 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.

(Updated with contract firm comments, starting in fifth paragraph.)

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