Teamsters and Amazon Labor Union Are Joining Forces

The Amazon Labor Union (ALU) has signed an affiliation agreement with the Teamsters. The agreement, ratified by the Teamster General Executive Board, goes to a vote this weekend by ALU members.

ALU members will vote Saturday, Sunday and Monday (June 15-17) in an election to approve affiliating with the Teamsters as ALU Local 1 of the Teamsters. 

On June 27, Staten Island Amazon workers will start casting ballots in the first-ever democratic election for ALU leadership.

The ALU is an independent union that won the first union election at Amazon two years ago of 8,000 workers at Amazon fulfillment center JFK8 on Staten Island, New York.

Since then, ALU has been unable to bring Amazon to the bargaining table. 

On May 20, Teamster General President Sean O’Brien and Amazon Division leaders met with ALU President Chris Smalls and ALU executive board members and with members of the Amazon Labor Union Democratic Reform Caucus which is fielding a slate in the upcoming election for ALU leadership.

The affiliation agreement will charter a new local known as Amazon Labor Union No. 1, International Brotherhood of Teamsters (ALU-IBT Local 1) for the five boroughs of New York City.

“We’re going to organize in support of the agreement, bring Amazon to the table, and win," said Connor Spence, the reform caucus's candidate for ALU president. "We need to build a national movement of Amazon workers who are strike-ready. Trying to build that without some kind of institutional backing is a long shot.” 

The officer election was scheduled after the ALU’s reform caucus filed a lawsuit last year, alleging that Smalls “refused to hold officer elections” in violation of the ALU Constitution. 

The reform caucus’s vision is that “union democracy is integral to our struggle to build our union into a strong, fighting organization that can take on Amazon and win workplace victories.”

Independent Amazon organizing groups are increasingly turning to the Teamsters to build the clout they need to win.

Delivery drivers in Palmdale, California joined the Teamsters and the IBT has been extending picket lines to other Amazon locations to back their fight.

Last month, workers at Amazon’s main air hub at Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport (CVG) airport also voted to affiliate their organizing effort with the Teamsters.

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