Workers Demand Amazon Address Low Pay, Dangerous Working Conditions
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(LOS ANGELES) – Amazon drivers from the company’s DAX8 delivery station in Palmdale, Calif., picketed two Amazon warehouses in Los Angeles County today. The pickets at DLX5 in Glendale and DCX7 in Torrance are just the latest in a three-month strike over the company’s unfair labor practices which has spread to warehouses around the country.
“Amazon doesn’t care about our safety, so we organized a union to keep ourselves safe,” said Jarrid Long, an Amazon driver and Teamsters Local 396 member from Palmdale. “I’ve been chased by dogs. I’ve been close to fainting from the heat in the vans. We are on strike to put an end to Amazon’s unfair labor practices, and more Amazon workers are joining the fight every day.”
The Amazon drivers and dispatchers began their unfair labor practice strike at Amazon’s DAX8 delivery station in Palmdale on June 24. They have picketed 16 Amazon warehouses around the country, including warehouses in California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan, Georgia, and Massachusetts.
“Since the strike started, these Amazon workers have remained united in pursuit of fair pay and safe jobs. And they are standing strong against Amazon’s retaliation and its illegal refusal to recognize the union and engage in bargaining,” said Victor Mineros, Secretary-Treasurer of Local 396 in Los Angeles. “The community and fellow workers in this industry are unwavering in their support. Millions of Teamsters stand shoulder-to-shoulder, with firm resolve, supporting our brothers and sisters at Amazon. Together, we are resolute in holding this corporate criminal accountable for its treatment of workers.”
In April, 84 workers in Palmdale organized with the Teamsters, becoming the first union of Amazon drivers in the country. As members of Local 396, they bargained a contract with Amazon’s Delivery Service Partner (DSP), Battle-Tested Strategies (BTS). Despite the absolute control it wields over BTS and workers’ terms and conditions of employment, Amazon refuses to recognize and honor the union contract. Instead, Amazon has engaged in dozens of unfair labor practices in violation of federal labor law, including terminating the entire unit of newly organized workers.
The workers’ growing strike will continue until Amazon remedies all of its unfair labor practices, meaning it reinstates the unlawfully terminated Palmdale employees, recognizes the Teamsters Union, respects the contract negotiated by workers, and bargains with the Teamsters to address low pay and dangerous working conditions.
Amazon drivers in Palmdale organized with the Teamsters to protect their safety in extreme temperatures, which regularly exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit during Palmdale summers. Their Teamster contract guarantees the rights of workers to drive safe equipment and refuse unsafe deliveries. Making the contract’s protections a reality will require an overhaul of Amazon’s exploitative labor practices.
Earlier this month, Amazon announced pay rates that fall well below the industry standard in the package delivery and warehousing industry set by the Teamsters at UPS. UPS Teamsters, including full-time drivers and part-time warehouse workers, organized a national strike threat this year and forced the company to raise minimum warehouse wages for new hires by $5.50 an hour. All UPS Teamsters won a contract with first-year raises of at least $2.75 per hour, with the average top pay for Teamster drivers growing to $49 per hour. Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.2 million hardworking people in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Visit Teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and “like” us on Facebook at Facebook.com/teamsters.