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Union Building Effort At Amazon’s Nine Canadian Sites By Teamsters: Reuters

Union Building Effort At Amazon’s Nine Canadian Sites By Teamsters: Reuters
Campaigns to organize employees to form a trade union at least nine Canadian facilities of the United States based e-commerce giant was launched by the Teamsters Union of Canada, according to a report from Reuters based on interviews with union officials.
As a first step, the employee union launched a campaign to organize employees earlier this week at one of Amazon's Canadian facilities. The report also said that such efforts are being widened by the union all across the country. Amazon employs about 25,000 workers in Canada at present and plans to hire 15,000 more.
According to analysts, the campaigns started by Teamsters is based on its assumption that early success at unionizing employees in a more labor-friendly market such as Canada will help start similar efforts to create unions across the border in the United States where efforts of unionization have been thwarted off by the company.
Late on Monday, Edmonton, Alberta's Teamsters Local Union 362 filed for a vote on union representation at a fulfillment center of Amazon in nearby Nisku, in the latest challenge to Amazon's anti-unionization policy.
Efforts of the union to create a employees’ union in Amazon stretches from the Pacific coastal province of British Columbia to the Canadian economic heartland in southern Ontario, said the Reuters report based on interviews with Teamsters units in other cities and provinces in Canada.
Enough signed cards have been secured from Amazon employees by the Teamsters' Edmonton unit that is required for calling out a union to meet the 40 per cent threshold to demand a vote to create a union. Campaigns of signing membership cards with Amazon workers are being carried out at two of the union's units in Ontario and one in Alberta.
According to the Reuters report, confirmation of organizing such campaigns has been made by two of the five units and the units have also said campaigns at multiple sites are being run by them. That puts the total number of Amazon facilities involved in some level of organizing to at least nine.
“Any locals that have an Amazon facility in their area are doing an organizing campaign,” Jim Killey, an organizer with Teamsters Local 879 near Hamilton, Ontario, told Reuters.
There were no comments on the issue available from Amazon.
"As a company, we don't think unions are the best answer for our employees," Amazon Canada spokesperson Dave Bauer said in an emailed statement earlier in the week.
Efforts of the company to change quickly to meet employees' needs would be prevented by unions and only represent "the voices of a select few", he added. 
The Teamsters say they can help workers win better wages and benefits, such as leaves of absence.
There is no direct impact in the United States of unionization votes in Canada. But according to John Logan, a labor professor at San Francisco State University, such votes could raise enthusiasm in the US.
“Organizing at a place like Amazon requires workers to take a certain amount of risk,” Logan said. “If they can look to other places and see that that risk has paid off for other workers, then they are far more inclined to do it themselves.”

Christopher J. Mitchell

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