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The Canadian Press

Teamsters Announce Amazon Union Election

The union will hold their first election at a warehouse in Alberta Canada

Kris LaGrange's picture
Sep 15, 2021

In June, the Teamsters delegates approved an ambitious plan to organize workers at Amazon. As UCOMM previously reported unlike other organizing drives at Amazon, the Teamsters were looking for a full-frontal assault on the company. The first of these was Teamster's actions to prevent Amazon from expanding by pushing local municipalities to block new Amazon projects.

The next step is to organize workers and the union has announced that they will be filing for their first election in Alberta, Canada. The union, which represents workers in the United State and Canada, filed with the Alberta Labor Relations Board for a vote on union representation at an Amazon warehouse in Nisku, Alberta, known as YEG1. If the labor board approves the election, then all workers employed at the warehouse as of September 13th would be eligible to vote on whether to join Teamsters Local 362. The union estimates that the warehouse has between 600 and 800 workers who would be eligible to take part in the election.

Teamsters Local Union 362 told CNBC that YEG1 workers have raised concerns around discrimination and wages. Although Amazon recently bumped up hourly pay to between $17 (13.45 USD) and $21.65 (17.13 USD), workers say the pay raise coincided with the removal of a monthly performance bonus, “meaning that many Amazon workers are doubtful that the new raise will actually translate to more money on their paychecks,” the group said. The average Canadian warehouse worker represented by the Teamsters makes between $24.50 to $31.93, in Canadian dollars, per hour.

"We have local unions across the country who are building relationships with Amazon workers as we speak. The same thing is going on in the United States," said Teamsters Canada spokesman Christopher Monette. "[Nisku] certainly won't be the last."

The choice of Canada for the Teamsters' first North American Amazon union makes sense as Canada is more union-friendly than the United States. As of 2020, the country had a unionization rate of 31.3% compared to the United States which is 10.8%.

The decision to begin organizing at Amazon in Canada comes as the company is planning to hire 15,000 new workers this fall to support its Canadian expansion plans. According to the CBC, Amazon currently employs 25,000 full and part time workers in 25 communities spread across five provinces.

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