Delivery drivers and dispatchers working for an Amazon contractor in Palmdale, California, have taken a bold step by initiating a strike against the company. More than 80 workers, who recently became members of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters in April, are demanding that Amazon address issues related to wages and working conditions.
This strike marks another union-related challenge for Amazon, following similar incidents across the country, from Queens and Staten Island, NY, to Bessemer, Alabama, and now California. The company is facing mounting pressure not only from labor unrest but also from negative publicity stemming from worker testimonials.
In a statement released by the Teamsters, Amazon driver Jesus Gutierrez emphasized the essential role of their labor in Amazon’s massive profits and expressed the workers’ refusal to tolerate any unlawful practices by the company.
The 84 workers involved in the Amazon California worker strike are part of Delivery Service Partner (DSP) Battle-Tested Strategies and are affiliated with Teamsters Local 396 in Los Angeles. While a contract was successfully negotiated and ratified with BTS, the union claims that Amazon has refused to honor it, asserting that the e-commerce giant has been the one dictating terms rather than the contractor. The Teamsters allege that Amazon has violated federal labor laws by engaging in numerous unfair labor practices.
Among the primary grievances raised by the workers are the demanding quotas of 300 deliveries per driver per day, often in vans lacking air conditioning. In a recent victory during negotiations with UPS, the Teamsters secured a concession requiring new vehicles delivered after January 1, 2024, to be equipped with air conditioning. Additionally, existing step vans will receive two fans each.
However, Amazon has a different perspective on the matter. The company claims to have terminated its contract with BTS for multiple reasons, a contention disputed by the Teamsters. Amazon spokesperson Eileen Hards stated that BTS had a history of underperformance and failing to provide a safe working environment and that Amazon had already notified them of contract termination before the Teamsters intervened.
This is a developing story.
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