PALMDALE (CNS) - More than 80 contract delivery drivers and dispatchers at Amazon's facility in Palmdale voted unanimously Friday to ratify their first union contract, which the union says 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."
The workers won voluntary recognition by Battle-Tested Strategies, a third-party delivery contractor, to be represented by the Teamsters.
Amazon spokesperson Eileen Hards said the delivery partner "had a track record of failing to perform and had been notified of its termination for poor performance well before today's announcement. This situation is more about an outside company trying to distract from their history of failing to meet their obligations. This doesn't change anything from our standpoint."
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.