The Teamsters’ new international president has pledged to step up the pressure on Amazon.com Inc. and mount its own efforts to unionize the company after workers in New York voted to form its first U.S. union on Friday.
Sean O’Brien, who was sworn in as international president of the Teamsters union last month, said it was vital to organize Amazon, asserting that the e-commerce company has “total disrespect” for its workers and is putting downward pressure on standards for unionized warehouse workers and truck drivers across the U.S., the Guardian reported.
Workers at the Staten Island warehouse won 2,654 yes votes versus 2,131 no votes. A second vote is set for another Amazon warehouse in Staten Island, and the Amazon Labor Union is trying to sign up workers at two other facilities in the New York borough.
A vote to organize workers in Alabama also hangs in the balance. Amazon beat off the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union drive last year by 118 votes, but the final tally is awaiting a review of 416 challenged ballots.
O’Brien said that no union is better positioned than the Teamsters to organize Amazon because his 1.3-million-member union has decades of experience in unionizing and winning good contracts for warehouse workers and truck drivers at United Parcel Service Inc. O’Brien wants, among other things, $20-an-hour minimum pay for part-time workers.
Amazon officials say their company’s pay levels are competitive — $18 for a full-time entry-level worker in Staten Island and nearly $16 in Alabama. Officials have repeatedly said they are committed to maintaining an environment where its employees can thrive and feel appreciated and respected.
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