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Supply Chain News: Teamsters Tout Unionization of Amazon Drivers in California, but is it a Ruse?


Union Deal with 84 Amazon Drivers is Actually with Contract Carrier

April 25, 2023

A small group of Amazon contract delivery drivers has joined a union – or did they?

Supply Chain Digest Says...


For Battle-Tested Strategies to unilaterally agree to hefty wages for its drivers with no corresponding compensation from Amazon would seem to be financial suicide.

What do you say?

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Amazon of course has been fending off unionization efforts at its US fulfillment centers, with the one FC site in New York City that did vote to organize still not under a union contract. (See A Year after Losing its First Election, Amazon has Little Trouble Fending off the Unions.)

There were many news reports this week that a relatively small group of 84 Amazon delivery drivers in Palmdale, California were joining the Teamsters union workers.

But it is hardly that simple. The drivers actually work for a company called Battle-Tested Strategies. The company is under contract to deliver packages as part of Amazon’s Delivery Service Partner program, which uses small contract firms that hire drivers to do the Amazon work, with Amazon defining pay, acceptable behaviors, and other aspects of the job.

The 84 drivers agreed to be represented by the Teamsters union, and Battle-Tested Strategies agreed to a deal with the Teamsters, which supposedly includes immediate wage increases and substantial hourly raises. The proposed contract also supposedly includes provisions that address concerns around health and safety standards.

None this, however, makes any sense.

First, why did Battle-Tested Strategies simply accept Teamsters representation of its workers, and immediately agree to a contract with generous improvements in pay and other areas? Normally, a business resists unionization and would not just offer a new and improved deal.

Second, the workers are receiving this improved contact from Battle-tested Strategies, not Amazon itself. Amazon is under no obligation to make changes in compensation for services provided by its contractor, and most certainly will not.

Margins for DSP partners are reportedly very slim, so for Battle-Tested Strategies to unilaterally agree to hefty wages for its drivers with no corresponding compensation from Amazon would seem to be financial suicide.

So what’s going on? Seems likely the action is connected to this emailed statement from Amazon to web site Gizmado from company spokesperson Eileen Hards: “Whether the Teamsters are being intentionally misleading or they just don’t understand our business, the narrative they’re spreading is false."


(See More Below)





Heck later issued a statement claiming that “This particular third-party company had a track record of failing to perform.”

Battle-Tested owner Johnathon Ervin disputed Amazon’s statement and said the company has a “current contract” with Amazon. Ervin claims Amazon ended his company’s contract in retaliation for him voicing concerns about safety and working conditions.

So is the whole unionization agreement some type of ruse?

Something seems quite fishy to say the least. It appears unlikely the union can claim a success at Amazon quite yet.

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