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Thursday, September 16, 2021

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

The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, August 8, 2018. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

Sept 14 (Reuters) – Workers at an Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) facility in the Canadian province of Alberta have filed a request with the provincial labor board to carry out a union vote, a major labor union said on Tuesday, in a new challenge to the e-commerce giant that has expanded rapidly without the formation of workers’ unions.

Teamsters Local Union 362 filed for a vote on union representation at an Amazon fulfillment center in Nisku, Alberta, late on Monday, according to a news release from Teamsters Canada.

Despite recent moves, unionization efforts among Amazon workers in the United States have failed. But experts say Canada is generally seen as more pro-union than the United States, particularly in light of several major COVID-19 outbreaks at Amazon facilities during the pandemic, including several outside of Toronto that resulted in public health officials shutting down warehouses.

The Alberta Labor Relations Board must verify the application before all Amazon employees at the facility employed as of Monday will be able to vote on whether to form a union, the union statement said.

Teamsters Canada represents 125,000 workers across the country and 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. read more

“Amazon won’t change without a union,” national president of Teamsters Canada, François Laporte, said in the statement. “The company has proven itself to be profoundly anti-worker. Amazon workers need to know they are not alone and they have the power, through the Teamsters, to change things for the better.”

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The company said when opening the warehouse in Nisku, located less than 30 kilometers (18.64 miles) south of Edmonton, Alberta, that it would employ around 600 people in the facility.

Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Dan Grebler and Matthew Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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