The International Brotherhood of Teamsters is launching a nationwide campaign to unionize Amazon workers. On Thursday, the union passed a resolution to make the “Amazon Project” a top priority and said it would commit “all resources necessary” to making the initiative successful. News of the campaign was first reported by Motherboard.
“Amazon presents a massive threat to working-class communities and good jobs in the logistics industry,” said Randy Korgan, national director of the Amazon Project, in a statement. “Amazon workers are calling for safer and better working conditions, and with today’s resolution, we are activating the full force of our union to support them.”
The vote came during the union’s annual convention on June 24th. Of the 1,632 delegates present, 1,562 voted to pass the resolution.
As part of the initiative, the Teamsters will create a special Amazon Division tasked with “taking on the threat that is Amazon for the next five years.” It’s designed to help the Teamsters roll out a unified strategy across its 500 local unions.
Korgan told Motherboard the union has been planning the campaign for years. “We’ve been working on this for quite some time—well before Bessemer broke out,” he said, referring to the recent union drive at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama.
In April, the National Labor Relations Board announced that warehouse workers in Bessemer, Alabama, had voted against unionizing with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU). The news came after months of Amazon’s brutal union-busting campaign, which included pressuring the postal service to install a mailbox outside the warehouse to collect ballots, which gave some workers the impression that Amazon controlled the vote. RWDSU challenged the results of the election in a complaint filed with the NLRB.
“In my more than two decades of service as Teamsters General President, I’ve yet to see a threat quite like the one Amazon presents to hardworking people, small businesses, the logistics industry and our nation’s middle class,” said Teamsters president James P. Hoffa in a statement. “Our 1.4 million Teamster members, their families and communities stand together in solidarity with Amazon workers, and we commit our union’s full support as they build worker power for a better future.”
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Verge.