Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Amazon delivery drivers scored a rare union win. The company swiftly sidestepped it.

An Amazon delivery worker pulls a delivery cart full of packages during its annual Prime Day promotion in New York
  • Amazon delivery drivers have often shared details of difficult working conditions.
  • Drivers working for an Amazon delivery contractor scored a win by unionizing.
  • But Amazon told Insider it already terminated its contract with the contractor. 

The group said they secured a tentative agreement with their employer, Battle-Tested Strategies (BTS). BTS is what's known as an Amazon Delivery Service Partner, or DSP. The agreement included items such as an increase in worker pay and more support for their biggest health and safety concern: working in very hot conditions. Outside temperatures in this city in the desert north of Los Angeles can reach the high 90s, and far higher in delivery vans, the workers say. 

The next steps for this union, according to a Teamsters official, is for the full membership to review the agreement and vote on it. There's also one more sticky issue: Amazon must agree to honor it, even though the contract is between the workers and BTS. That's because in the world of DSPs, Amazon sets the rules, the drivers say. If Amazon won't honor the provisions in the agreement, then the union has likely accomplished little. 

To that end, the workers protested on Monday outside the Amazon delivery logistics warehouse where they operate, but their arguments fell on deaf ears.

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