July 28, 2021

The Teamsters consider a new emphasis on organizing Amazon workers.

Amazon did not immediately reply to a request for comment on Tuesday.

In an opinion column this month for Salon, Randy Korgan, a Teamsters official from Southern California who has been the national director for Amazon since the position was created last year, wrote that the union would bypass traditional workplace elections conducted by the National Labor Relations Board.

Instead, Mr. Korgan wrote, the union will focus on building support from both Amazon workers and from other warehouse and delivery workers and community members, and it aims to bring the company to the bargaining table by orchestrating strikes, boycotts, protests and other actions.

Amazon defeated a conventional campaign organized by a retail workers union at a warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., this year, after which a number of union leaders suggested that a shift to the strategies highlighted by Mr. Korgan might be more fruitful. Those union leaders pointed out that federal labor law gives employers large advantages during election campaigns — allowing companies to hold mandatory anti-union meetings, for example — and that the government cannot fine employers who violate the law. (The retail workers union is challenging the results of the election at the Bessemer warehouse, accusing Amazon of intimidating workers.)

Support for the approach is far from unanimous within the labor movement, however.

In an interview after the election in Alabama, Stuart Appelbaum, the head of the retail workers union that oversaw the campaign, said seeking to win union elections at Amazon warehouses should remain a focus. “If you want to build real power, you have to do it with a majority of workers,” Mr. Appelbaum said at the time.

The Teamsters union holds its convention every five years and uses it to set the priorities that the union will pursue until the next convention. The resolution states that momentum for the Amazon campaign has been building since the union’s last convention in 2016.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/22/business/economy/amazon-union-teamsters.html

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