Amazon relies on some 2,500 delivery service partners (DSPs) to deliver packages. The Teamsters are attempting to organize DSP workers, posing a challenge to the company’s business model.  AP Photo:Steven Senne

Amazon often contracts out its delivery services to trucking contractors. Most of them, like Amazon, are non-unionized. But the beginnings of change are in the air.

On April 24, Amazon delivery drivers at Battle-Tested Strategies, a southern California company contractor, announced that they had joined Local 396 of the Teamsters Union. A week later, they announced a union contract with the company that upped wages from $19.75 to $30 an hour by September. They also won several paid holidays and did not have to accept a no-strike clause.

The union victory represents what union activists see as a possible beginning to the unionization of Amazon contractors. It could also raise a possible legal challenge to Amazon’s use of these contractors to claim that they bore no responsibility for bargaining with the drivers since they are workers for another company, or in the case of small truckers, independent contractors not employees.

Amazon however is fighting back with its usual union-busting tactics. When the union drive began at BTS, Amazon took steps to cancel its contract with BTS, fearful that the union drive would spread to other truckers, raising its costs for shipment.

Stay tuned.

American Prospect, 5/4