Breaking News
0
Ad-Free Version. Upgrade your Investing.com experience. Save up to 40% More details

'Amazon won't change without a union': Canadian warehouse files for union vote

EconomySep 14, 2021 07:11PM ET
Saved. See Saved Items.
This article has already been saved in your Saved Items
 
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

By Moira Warburton

(Reuters) -Workers at one of Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN)'s Canadian facilities have filed a request with a local labor board to hold a vote to form a union, Teamsters Canada said on Tuesday, in the latest challenge to the company, which has discouraged collective action in the past.

Teamsters Local Union 362 filed for a vote on union representation at an Amazon fulfillment center in Nisku, Alberta, late on Monday, according to Teamsters Canada, which represents 125,000 workers in different industries across the country.

Efforts to unionize Amazon workers in the United States have failed https://www.reuters.com/world/us/amazons-new-union-battle-teamsters-go-local-snarl-expansion-2021-09-01. But experts say Canada is generally seen as more pro-union, particularly in light of several major COVID-19 outbreaks at Amazon facilities during the pandemic, including several outside of Toronto that led public health officials to shut down warehouses.

The application for all Amazon employees employed at the facility as of Monday to vote on forming a union must be verified by the Alberta Labor Relations Board, the Teamsters statement said. It was unclear when the vote would take place.

Amazon said when opening the warehouse in Nisku, less than 30 km (19 miles) south of Edmonton, that it would employ around 600 people.

Teamsters Canada is affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, which represents 1.5 million people in North America. In June the international organization said it would make unionizing Amazon a priority.

"Amazon won't change without a union," François Laporte, national president of Teamsters Canada, said in the statement. "The company has proven itself to be profoundly anti-worker."

Amazon Canada spokesperson Dave Bauer said in an emailed statement: "As a company, we don't think unions are the best answer for our employees."

Unions would prevent the company from changing quickly to meet employees' needs and represented "the voices of a select few," he added.

Amazon earlier this year fended off an attempt by the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) to organize workers in Bessemer, Alabama. A U.S. labor board official has recommended the vote at the facility should be redone due to Amazon setting up its own ballot collection boxes, but a final decision on a new vote has not yet been made.

Amazon workers rejected the union attempt in Alabama by a more than 2-to-1 margin. The company actively opposed the union, touted a pay scale above average in the area and said employees favored a "direct connection" with managers and the company.

Teamsters Canada is "prepared for anything" that Amazon might do to deter unionization, said spokesperson Christopher Monette.

Unionization efforts at the Nisku facility began in the summer and have received a huge amount of support, including a petition signed by "hundreds" of workers at the warehouse, Monette said.

The Canadian chapter is "closely coordinating" with its American counterpart, he added.

Randy Korgan, national director for Amazon with Teamsters in the United States, said they will watch the outcome in Alberta closely.

Efforts at the Nisku warehouse began due to a high level of interest in unionizing after initial outreach, said Chance Hrycun, an official with the Teamsters Local 362, combined with a large workforce that carries out physically demanding shifts for lower pay.

Teamsters unions across Canada have posted on Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) about their outreach to Amazon workers in recent months. Teamsters Local 987, which represents other workers in Alberta, wrote in a post in July that the group had spoken with "over 600 Amazon employees who are ready for change."

Stephanie Ross, director of the School of Labour Studies at McMaster University in Ontario, said that while Canada has a much friendlier environment towards unions than the United States, Alberta has one of Canada's more hostile labour environments.

In addition, penalties remain low for employers who break laws defining unionization processes, Ross said.

Nevertheless, timelines for unionizations in Canada are mandated, meaning employers can only drag their feet so much, she added.

In addition, provincial labour boards in Canada can automatically certify a union, in a process known as remedial certification, if the board decides an employer has interfered with the vote, although Ross said this is rare.

'Amazon won't change without a union': Canadian warehouse files for union vote
 

Related Articles

China's economic wobbles cast long shadow for Asia
China's economic wobbles cast long shadow for Asia By Reuters - Oct 19, 2021

By Chen Lin and Cynthia Kim SINGAPORE/SEOUL (Reuters) - China's economic setbacks have darkened the outlook for countries in its orbit, from South Korea to Thailand, as a sharp...

Add a Comment

Comment Guidelines

We encourage you to use comments to engage with other users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:  

  •            Enrich the conversation, don’t trash it.

  •           Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed. 

  •           Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically. Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user. Racism, sexism and other forms of discrimination will not be tolerated.

  • Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases. Comments that are written in all caps and contain excessive use of symbols will be removed.
  • NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and comments containing links will be removed. Phone numbers, email addresses, links to personal or business websites, Skype/Telegram/WhatsApp etc. addresses (including links to groups) will also be removed; self-promotional material or business-related solicitations or PR (ie, contact me for signals/advice etc.), and/or any other comment that contains personal contact specifcs or advertising will be removed as well. In addition, any of the above-mentioned violations may result in suspension of your account.
  • Doxxing. We do not allow any sharing of private or personal contact or other information about any individual or organization. This will result in immediate suspension of the commentor and his or her account.
  • Don’t monopolize the conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also strongly believe in giving everyone a chance to air their point of view. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
  • Only English comments will be allowed.

Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.

Write your thoughts here
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
Post also to:
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Thanks for your comment. Please note that all comments are pending until approved by our moderators. It may therefore take some time before it appears on our website.
 
Are you sure you want to delete this chart?
 
Post
 
Replace the attached chart with a new chart ?
1000
Your ability to comment is currently suspended due to negative user reports. Your status will be reviewed by our moderators.
Please wait a minute before you try to comment again.
Add Chart to Comment
Confirm Block

Are you sure you want to block %USER_NAME%?

By doing so, you and %USER_NAME% will not be able to see any of each other's Investing.com's posts.

%USER_NAME% was successfully added to your Block List

Since you’ve just unblocked this person, you must wait 48 hours before renewing the block.

Report this comment

I feel that this comment is:

Comment flagged

Thank You!

Your report has been sent to our moderators for review
Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.
Continue with Google
or
Sign up with Email