Teamsters Support Amazon Workers’ Demands for Higher Pay, Safe Working Conditions
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(SAN BERNARDINO, Calif.) — Amazon workers at KSBD, the company’s regional air hub in Southern California, delivered a petition today demanding a pay increase, safer working conditions, and the right to a witness at meetings with management. Outside the facility, striking Amazon delivery drivers from Palmdale, Calif., extended their picket line as part of a three-month unfair labor practice (ULP) strike that has taken them around the country.
“We are delivering a petition, signed by hundreds of workers, demanding a base pay of $25 an hour from Amazon. We deserve to be paid our worth, and we are worth more than poverty wages from a trillion-dollar company,” said Rex Evans, a KSBD worker in the ramp department and member of the Inland Empire Amazon Workers United organizing committee. “Amazon workers have to choose between paying our bills and buying food. Amazon must do better, and we will keep building worker power and fighting until we are paid fairly and treated with respect.”
On September 19, 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.
KSBD is a critical leg in the Amazon logistics network and the largest air facility on the West Coast. Workers at the KSBD air hub organized walkouts and strikes in the past year to demand higher wages and safe working conditions. Last week, they received a $1.75 per hour base pay increase, higher than the $1.25 received by other nearby facilities, bringing them to a base pay of $19.75. Amazon workers are demanding the company provide wages in line with the industry standard.
“In the past, Amazon management told us that our pay structure was tied to the region’s standard, but clearly, after we went on strike in large numbers last year, the company has tried to quiet us down by giving us more than other facilities,” said Anna Ortega, a KSBD Amazon worker. “At the end of the day, the amount we and other facilities saw is not enough to catch up with rising inflation, increasing gas prices, and it’s definitely not enough to catch up with industry standards.”
The ULP strike by Amazon drivers and dispatchers in Palmdale, Calif., began on June 24. KSBD is the 14th Amazon warehouse that Palmdale Teamsters have picketed during their three-month ULP strike, among other warehouses in California, New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan, Georgia, and Massachusetts.
The Palmdale workers’ growing strike will continue until Amazon 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 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 84 workers in Palmdale joined Local 396 in April and 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 picket at KSBD by Palmdale workers shows the growing movement of Amazon delivery drivers and warehouse workers joining together to take action. In July, as Palmdale Teamsters held a picket line outside, Amazon warehouse workers at DDT6 in Pontiac, Michigan went on strike to protest the company’s violation of federal labor laws at their facility.
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.