Amazon workers become the first to unionize at one of the company’s Canadian warehouses

Amazon workers become the first to unionize at one of the company’s Canadian warehouses

A group of workers in Quebec have formed the first union at one of the company’s Canadian warehouses. On Friday, the province’s labor tribunal granted union accreditation to workers at the DXT4 warehouse in Laval, a Montreal suburb. It determined that a majority had opted to unionize after signing union cards.

A group of some 200 workers are organizing as the Laval Amazon Workers Union under the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), which represents around 330,000 people across a variety of industries in Canada. A general assembly to decide on a constitution, bylaws and representatives will take place in the coming days. A consultation with union members will then take place to agree on a list of demands.

The union says Amazon is legally required to come to the negotiation table to hash out a contract. However, it Amazon to appeal the labor tribunal’s decision after allegedly attempting to stop the unionization efforts.

“First and foremost, this is a great victory for the men and women from Latin America, Chad, the Maghreb and Asia who were not afraid to stand up for their rights,” CSN president Caroline Senneville said . “Over the past few months, Amazon has pulled out all the stops to block our unionization campaign, flooding the workplace with scaremongering messages. DXT4 workers have given us all a lesson in courage. Of course, we hope it spreads.”

Amazon claimed in a letter to the labor tribunal on May 6 that the accreditation would not “respect the interests of its employees.” The company argued that some workers signed union cards after being misled and that some aspects of the Quebec labor code run contrary to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“We believe that all people should have the right to inform themselves and to vote according to their situation and convictions at the time,” Amazon spokesperson Barbara M. Agrait told the . “If a simple majority of people at an employer have joined a union at any point, then there’s no vote and representation is automatic for all employees — including maybe dozens or hundreds of employees who didn’t even know it was being considered.”

Amazon has long been accused of attempting to at warehouses in the US and . In 2022, workers at a warehouse in Staten Island, New York, became the first in the company to . But the Amazon Labor Union does not yet have a contract with Amazon, and it’s running low on funds ahead of a leadership election.

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