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Teamsters Resolution Would Target Amazon for Organizing Push

June 22, 2021, 8:43 PM

A proposed resolution floated at the International Brotherhood of Teamsters’ convention would prioritize organizing Amazon.com Inc.‘s workforce and seek to coordinate efforts across the union’s network to counter the e-commerce giant’s global reach.

The resolution dubbing the initiative the “Amazon Project” is expected to receive a vote on June 24, the final day of the three-day convention. It calls for regional partnerships between union locals, joint councils, and the Teamsters’ International organization, and the creation of a dedicated Amazon Division to help coordinate activities with workers.

“Building genuine worker power at Amazon will require shop-floor militancy by Amazon workers...in addition to unquestioned solidarity from warehousing and delivery Teamsters,” the resolution said. It pledged to “fully” fund the initiative.

Teamsters spokesperson Kara Deniz confirmed the resolution will receive a vote.

An Amazon spokesperson didn’t immediately respond to multiple emailed requests for comment.

The convention, which began Tuesday, also will consider candidates to replace James P. Hoffa, who is stepping down after serving as the union’s president since 1998. Final voting is expected in November.

Hoffa, during a convention speech Tuesday, called Amazon an “existential threat to every Teamster out there.”

“We will organize Amazon,” he vowed.

If approved by convention delegates, the resolution will act as a policy outline. Though such resolutions are “instructive, not imperative,” they serve to mark out future organizing goals, said Brian Rainville, a spokesperson for Sean O’Brien, one of the candidates to replace Hoffa.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union’s failed effort to organize Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Ala., earlier this year shows the challenge the Teamsters face. The company prevailed over RWDSU in April by a vote of more than two-to-one.

Teamsters locals have explored individual organizing and advocacy pushes against Amazon, but coordination from the international side would represent a new development.

The resolution is one of more than 40 measures up for consideration by convention delegates, including items on United Parcel Service Inc. contract campaigns, coordinated bargaining, and automation.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Papscun in Washington at dpapscun@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: John Lauinger at jlauinger@bloomberglaw.com; Martha Mueller Neff at mmuellerneff@bloomberglaw.com

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