Amazon Drivers in California Join Local Teamsters

Unionization efforts gather steam across the state
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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Amazon drivers and dispatchers in Palmdale, Calif., are awaiting ratification of a new agreement with their DSD after joining the local Teamsters union.

Organized labor efforts are ramping up in California, as Amazon drivers and dispatchers in Palmdale, Calif., recently joined the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. The 84 members are now part of the Teamsters’ Local 396 in Los Angeles.

Already, Local 396 and the local joint council negotiated a tentative agreement with Amazon’s DSD partner, Battle-Tested Strategies, on various workplace improvements, including pay raises, health and safety standards and other benefits. That deal will be voted on by members in the coming weeks.

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One Amazon driver called on the company to respect workers’ right to unionize. “We want fair pay and safe jobs, to be able to provide food for our families. We want to know we will make it home to our families at night after delivering Amazon packages in the extreme heat,” said Rajpal Singh, an Amazon driver in Palmdale. “We organized with the Teamsters to change our working conditions for the better.”

Victor Mineros, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 396, said that this effort can be seen as part of a larger movement. “We are confident this will lead other Amazon workers nationwide to organize with the Teamsters,” Mineros declared.

In other California labor news, a Trader Joe’s in Oakland recently became the first location in the state to form a union. On April 20, workers voted in favor of joining the independent group Trader Joe’s United.

Also this month, a federal judge ruled that California-based Save Mart Supermarkets can be sued by workers taking part in a union-related legal move. The plaintiffs who seek to file a class-action lawsuit against Save Mart contend that the retailer misled workers about retirement benefits to prevent them from organizing through the United Food and Commercial Workers union.

Seattle-based Amazon is No. 2 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. With more than 500 stores in 40-plus states, Monrovia, Calif.-based Trader Joe’s is No. 27 on The PG 100. Based in Modesto, Calif., The Save Mart Cos. operates more than 200 retail stores under the banners of Save Mart, Lucky California and FoodMaxx and is No. 55 on The PG 100.

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