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Episode 8: The Teamsters Take Amazon

Duration
0:00 / 48:16
Published
June 12, 2023

Amazon: The company we hate to love, for its convenient next-day deliveries, and we love to hate, for its egregious treatment of the workers that execute that miracle.


It really needs no introduction. Amazon is a corporate giant with 1.5 million employees, most of which are in the Teamsters' bread and butter industry: logistics, meaning warehouse workers and delivery drivers. Only, these workers are almost entirely non-union. But the problem with Amazon is not just its own non-union pay and working conditions. Left unchecked, Amazon may just start a race to the bottom for the working class as a whole.


The Teamsters, alongside other unions and worker collectives, are trying to change that. And in April earlier this year, 84 of Amazon's delivery drivers and dispatchers in Palmdale, California joined Teamsters Local 396 and won a first contract. This is a huge deal, but it's not an uncomplicated victory.


In this episode, you'll hear from one of those Amazon drivers, Arturo Solezano, about their working conditions, and why he and his now-union siblings joined the Teamsters. We also spoke with Alex Press, staff writer at Jacobin magazine, who unpacked why Amazon is a threat that needs to be taken seriously by the Teamsters and the rest of organized labor.


Finally, you'll hear an update on UPS contract negotiations from Greg Kerwood, a package car delivery driver from Teamsters Local 25 in Boston.



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Hosted by Teddy Ostrow

Edited by Teddy Ostrow

Produced by NYGP & Ruby Walsh, in partnership with In These Times & The Real News

Music by Casey Gallagher

Cover art by Devlin Claro Resetar


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Support the show at Patreon.com/upsurgepod.

Follow us on Twitter @upsurgepod, Facebook, The Upsurge, and YouTube @upsurgepod.


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Support the newly unionized Amazon drivers in Palmdale, California through their solidarity fund.


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Check out Alex Press's article on the UPS contract campaign in Jacobin magazine, and Teddy's video collaboration with More Perfect Union on why UPSers may strike this August.