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Teamsters members and national leaders march on Amazon HQ, escalating union campaign

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Teamsters members and leaders rally outside Amazon headquarters in Seattle on Tuesday afternoon. (Image by Teamsters 117 via Twitter).

Teamsters leaders including Sean O’Brien, general president of the union, brought their campaign to organize Amazon warehouse and logistics workers to the company’s doorstep in Seattle this afternoon.

A large crowd marched past the Amazon Spheres and the company’s headquarters towers, filling the streets north of downtown Seattle, and delivering loud chants in protest of Amazon and its founder, Jeff Bezos.

“Amazon should be afraid — the Teamsters are here standing shoulder-to-shoulder with so many communities demanding change,” O’Brien said in a statement.

The Teamsters accuse Amazon of mistreating warehouse and logistics workers, and allege that the company has illegally thwarted efforts to unionize its fulfillment centers in some parts of the country.

“The Teamsters aren’t going away,” O’Brien said. “Wherever Amazon abuses workers, we’ll be there. Amazon will not bust unions and get away with it. Amazon will not churn and burn American workers and get away with it. This corrupt corporate giant must answer to the Teamsters now, and we’re ready for the fight.”

Amazon, which has repeatedly disputed these claims, issued a statement on the Teamsters rally and union campaign in response to an inquiry from GeekWire.

“We respect the rights of individuals to peacefully protest,” said Brad Glasser, an Amazon spokesperson. “And as we’ve always said, it’s our employees’ choice of whether or not to join a union — it always has been. As a company, we don’t think unions are the best answer for our workforce and our focus remains on working directly with our team to continue making Amazon a great place to work.”

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy hinted at the Code conference earlier this month that the company would continue to appeal to the landmark vote to approve a union at its Staten Island warehouse, saying there were “a lot of very disturbing irregularities” in the vote. That campaign was led by the independent Amazon Labor Union.

The march by the Teamsters on Amazon HQ coincides with the Teamsters Women’s Conference, taking place in Seattle this week. The Teamsters earlier this month formed a new division focused on unionizing Amazon, led by Randy Korgan of Teamsters Local 1932 in San Bernardino, Calif.

There are 1.2 million Teamsters members, including 340,000 UPS employees. The Teamsters and the National Association of Letter Carriers, which represents U.S. Postal Service workers, have also expressed interest in attempting to organize Amazon delivery drivers, who work for independent third-party firms.

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