TEAMSTERS SUPPORT AMAZON WORKERS IN DEMANDING REAL WAGE INCREASES
Through Collective Action, Workers Force Amazon to Change Its Unpaid Leave Policy
WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Amazon workers across the country are demanding real wage increases after the company announced pay rates this week that fall well below the industry standard set by the Teamsters at UPS.
"We got this raise because workers have been organizing for what we deserve, but clearly Amazon can do much better," said Rex Evans, an Amazon worker at KSBD, the company's air hub facility in San Bernardino, Calif., where he is a member of the Inland Empire Amazon Workers United organizing committee. "While Amazon executives make millions, we still have to choose between paying our bills and buying food. Amazon is clearly scared of worker power, and we are going to keep fighting to be paid fairly and treated with respect."
Amazon's wage announcement comes after a summer of shopfloor actions, petitions, rallies, picket lines, and unfair labor practice strikes by workers at the company, including Amazon drivers who joined Teamsters Local 396 in Los Angeles in April.
"Amazon workers across the country are organizing for the good jobs we deserve. Amazon won't buy us off with peanuts," said Tom Culver, a driver at Amazon's DAX8 delivery station in Palmdale, Calif., where workers have been on strike over unfair labor practices since June 24. "When you hear $440 million in pay incrases, it might sound like a lot, but we can do the math. That's just 0.09 percent of Amazon's total revenue and it only works out to 75 cents per hour for drivers. Amazon drivers are constantly surveilled and pestered by bosses to rush through our deliveries regardless of high package counts, extreme weather, and aggressive dogs. We know what we are really worth."
Amazon's wages remain far below the industry standard in the package delivery and warehousing industry. 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 by $5.50 an hour. All UPS Teamsters won a contract with first-year raises of at least $2.75 per hour, and the average top pay for Teamster drivers growing to $49 per hour.
"My co-workers and I just overwhelmingly ratified the best contract in our industry, with more money, benefits, and protections," said Bill Aiman, who works at UPS and is a member of Teamsters Local 728 in Atlanta. "Amazon's revenue is five times higher than UPS, so there's no reason Amazon workers should not receive their fair share as well. UPS Teamsters stand with our sisters and brothers at Amazon in the fight for good jobs across our industry."
After Amazon workers took action at a number of facilities nationwide and filed charges at the National Labor Relations Board, the company was recently forced to change its Unpaid Time (UPT) policy. For years, Amazon deducted a full hour of accrued UPT when workers were just a few minutes late for work. Now, UPT will only be deducted in 15-minute increments and workers will earn UPT at double the previous rate. The new policies, while a real win for workers, still do not address the illegal nature of the policy or its effect in violating Section 7 rights.
"This shows that when we organize in our warehouses and unite across facilities, Amazon has to listen to us. This win by workers is going to make a real difference, but we need to keep pushing. Amazon deducts UPT for illegal reasons and uses it as a pretext to fire workers," said Alicia Ozier, an Amazon warehouse worker at DDT6 in Pontiac, Mich. "UPS Teamsters showed the world what workers in this industry can get if we organize and show our power. We are committed to building that same worker power at Amazon."
Founded in 1903, the Teamsters Union represents 1.2 million hardworking people in the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico. Visit Teamster.org to learn more and follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at Facebook.com/teamsters.
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SOURCE International Brotherhood of Teamsters
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