Amazon warehouse in Quebec attempts to be first to unionize in Canada

Things coming to Canada this year: Shake Shack, the Eras Tour, and… a unionized Amazon warehouse?

What happened: The DXT4 Amazon warehouse in Laval, Québec, could soon be the first in Canada to unionize after the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN) — one of Québec’s largest trade union federations — filed an application to represent 200 workers there.

  • The province’s labour tribunal will now ask for a list of employees from Amazon and work to determine if a 50% + 1 majority of employees have signed a union card.
  • If the tribunal finds that this threshold has been met, it will officially ratify the union, though CSN has accused Amazon of using dubious union-busting tactics to interfere.

Big picture: Amazon warehouses have been a tough nut to crack for organized labour. Two BC warehouses were poised to be the first to unionize in Canada, but Unifor temporarily withdrew its application to represent workers there, implying Amazon was fudging employee numbers.

Why it matters: Workers who voted to unionize have cited desires for higher wages — CSN claims wages are around ~$18 an hour compared to union factory gigs that pay up to $30 an hour — and concerns over health and safety measures and physically punishing workloads.

  • Amazon warehouses have come under fire for poor working conditions. Injuries in particular have spiked since 2020 and remain high.
  • In Québec, the Liberal Party asked the province’s workplace health and safety board to launch a probe into Amazon warehouse working conditions.

Yes, but: Momentum from the initial wave of union drives is petering out. There’s still only one unionized US warehouse — JFK8 in Staten Island — which, after two years, still hasn’t secured a collective bargaining deal with Amazon and is beset by internal struggles.

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