Palmdale Amazon drivers; first to organize with Teamster agreement

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by Lewit Gemeda

On April 25th, a group of Amazon delivery drivers and dispatchers working for a Palmdale, California contractor become the first group of Amazon drivers to unionize, and striking Canadian federal government workers seem to be approaching a resolution with the government. 

Last week, 84 drivers and dispatchers at Battle Tested Strategies—an Amazon contractor—entered a contract with the Teamsters, which the employer voluntarily recognized. The contract includes an immediate raise to wages, a schedule for meaningful future raises, and provisions that address vehicle conditions and heat exposure issues. The drivers, while not direct Amazon employees, wear Amazon branded vests, drive Amazon branded vans, and only deliver Amazon packages. The workers informed Amazon of their new union on Monday and asked that it comply with the terms of the contract. The contract may require Amazon to change how it deals with wage floors, selects delivery routes and schedules, and the termination powers it retains. Amazon has responded to the news about the union by emphasizing that 1) these employees are not Amazon employees, and 2) that it had previously terminated Battle Tested Strategies’ contract due to poor performance. Eileen Hards, an Amazon spokesperson, made the following statement: “Whether the Teamsters are being intentionally misleading or they just don’t understand our business, the narrative they’re spreading is false… This particular third party company had a track record of failing to perform and had been notified of its termination for poor performance well before today’s announcement.” 

Next, a strike by 155 Canadian federal workers may be coming to a close soon. On Sunday, the union made the statement that progress has been made on remote work allowances and on wage increases for the Treasury Board employees. Currently, the strike is scheduling to continue while negotiations over a deal for workers at Canada’s revenue agency continue. The strike has affected a wide range of public services such as tax return processing and passport renewals. The revenue agency employees want a 22.5% pay raise over three years, while Treasury Board workers are looking for a 13.5% raise over three years. The government has offered each group a 9% raise.



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