Amazon faces Teamsters union motion within the Canadian warehouse
People hold a banner at the Amazon facility as members of a congressional delegation arrive to show their support for the workers who will vote on a union on March 5, 2021 in Bessemer, Alabama.
Dustin Chambers | Reuters
Amazon warehouse workers in Alberta, Canada, have signed up for a union election, a major union said Tuesday on the occasion of the retail giant’s recent labor dispute.
The International Brotherhood of Teamsters late Monday, through a local chapter, requested a vote on union representation with the Alberta Labor Relations Board at an Amazon warehouse in Nisku, Alberta known as YEG1. The employment agency must first approve the election, after which all workers employed by YEG1 from September 13th can vote whether they want to join the Teamsters Local Union 362. A Teamsters Canada spokesman said the warehouse employs between 600 and 800 workers.
“Amazon will not change without a union,” said François Laporte, national president of Teamsters Canada, in a statement. “Be it in terms of job security, the pace of work, discrimination, favoritism or wages, the company has proven itself to be deeply anti-worker.”
Dave Bauer, head of communications for Amazon’s Canadian operations team, told CNBC in a statement that the company respects workers’ rights to join or not join a union, but that unions do not believe that unions are the “best answer for our employees ” are.
“Every day we empower people to find ways to improve their jobs, and when they do, we want to make those changes quickly,” said Bauer. “This type of continuous improvement is more difficult, fast and agile with unions in the middle.
“The benefits of direct relationships between managers and employees cannot be overstated – these relationships make it possible to hear the voice of every employee, not just the voices of a select few,” added Bauer.
The union offensive is the latest attempt to organize Amazon workers, a target that has been coveted by unions in the US and abroad for many years.
In April, workers at the Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama, voted overwhelmingly against union formation, with less than 30% of the vote in favor of joining the retail, wholesale and department store union. The union questioned the election results, claiming Amazon interfered illegally in the process and the National Labor Relations Board is expected to make a final decision in the coming weeks.
Even after the loss in Alabama, unions continued their efforts to organize Amazon workers. The Teamsters passed a resolution in June to fund and provide resources for Amazon employees who wish to unionize.
According to Teamsters Local Union 362, YEG1 workers have raised concerns about discrimination and wages. Although Amazon recently hiked hourly wages to $ 17-21.65, workers said the raise coincided with the cancellation of a monthly performance bonus, “meaning many Amazon employees doubt the new raise would actually make more money for their paychecks means. ”said Teamters Local Union 362.