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Amazon workers in Palmdale approve new union contract


Driver wages at $30 per hour

Amazon delivery drivers and dispatchers in Palmdale have voted unanimously to ratify their first union contract, which would bring driver wages to $30 per hour by September.

The International Brotherhood of Teamsters contract is the first union agreement covering workers in Amazon's massive delivery network, according to the labor union.

“These workers have been delivering Amazon packages as unionized drivers for a week now,'' Randy Korgan, Teamsters Amazon Division Director and Teamsters Joint Council 42 Director of Organizing, said in a statement.

“Fulfilling the promise of the contract will require fundamentally changing Amazon's exploitative business model and we will keep fighting until that happens. These drivers and dispatchers are showing that by building power in the workplace, you can take on the richest corporations and get what you deserve. We are proud to stand alongside them as fellow Teamsters.''

A message requesting comment from Amazon was not immediately answered at press time.

The union says the contract will bring driver wages to $30 per hour by September. It also guarantees the rights of workers to drive safe equipment and refuse unsafe deliveries, it said.

The Amazon drivers organized with the Teamsters over concerns for their safety in extreme temperatures, which regularly exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit during Palmdale summers.

The contract preserves the workers' right to strike during the length of the agreement to enforce the contract and protect their safety, according to the Teamsters.

“People don't realize how dangerous delivering for Amazon can be,'' said driver Jessie Medina.

“We all have experiences with aggressive dogs or other close calls when making deliveries for Amazon. Now we have the right to refuse unsafe deliveries thanks to our union contract. Amazon needs to respect that.''

The group of 84 workers at the facility known as DAX8 will also receive paid holidays, including Martin Luther King Day, Cesar Chavez Day and Juneteenth, the union said.

The workers won voluntary recognition by Battle-Tested Strategies, a third-party delivery contractor, to be represented by the Teamsters.