Amazon Labor Union moves to affiliate with Teamsters union

NEW YORK CITY, New York: The Amazon Labor Union (ALU), which achieved a landmark victory at an Amazon warehouse two years ago, has decided to affiliate with the Teamsters union, aiming to rejuvenate its efforts.

Teamsters General President Sean M. O’Brien announced the affiliation during the union’s general executive board meeting in Washington on June 4, as per a post on X by the union.

If ratified, members of the ALU from the Staten Island warehouse in New York City will join the Teamsters as an "autonomous" local union. According to the agreement, this arrangement grants them the same rights and duties as a standard Teamsters chapter.

The Teamsters’ board has already unanimously approved the affiliation, which aligns with their goal of unionizing Amazon’s non-corporate workforce.

ALU President Chris Smalls expressed enthusiasm about the merger on X, stating that the labor group is joining forces with a powerful union to challenge Amazon. "Our message is clear: we want a contract, and we want it now," Smalls wrote, emphasizing the union’s ongoing struggle to secure a contract since its initial victory over two years ago.

Despite the early success, the ALU has encountered several obstacles, including two election defeats at other Amazon warehouses and internal disputes over its organizing strategy.

Some organizers have split to form the ALU Democratic Reform Caucus, a dissident group that sued the union last year to demand a new leadership election. According to Arthur Schwartz, an attorney representing the dissident group, this election is anticipated to occur in July outside the original unionized warehouse.

The newly announced agreement is already facing resistance from the caucus. Schwartz mentioned that the Teamsters want the ALU membership to ratify the new agreement before the internal leadership election in July. However, this poses a challenge as the ALU lacks an updated list of members, which the caucus has been seeking for the ongoing internal election.

Representatives for Amazon and the Teamsters did not immediately respond to requests for comment.