Unifor files applications for two Amazon facilities in BC

Avatar photo
by Emily Atkins

The campaign for workers at Amazon facilities in Metro Vancouver to form a union has reached a pivotal stage after Unifor filed two applications to the B.C. Labour Relations Board (BCLRB).

After the BCLRB processes the application, it will determine if a vote must be held. If the cards submitted by Unifor represent at least 45 percent of the eligible workforce at a facility, a vote may be called within five business days. If the cards represent more than 55 percent, union certification is granted and work begins on a first collective agreement.

“We call on Amazon to respect the wishes of workers and avoid using the legal tricks and games it has played in the past to block unionization,” said Unifor Western regional director Gavin McGarrigle.

“Unions are good for workers, and Amazon is no different.”

Applications were filed for the fulfillment centres at 109 Braid Street in New Westminster, and 450 Derwent Place in Delta. Unifor’s awareness campaign at Amazon facilities began on June 21, 2023. Card-signing began on October 19, 2023.

Numerous attempts have been made to unionize Amazon’s warehouse operations in Canada. In May 2022 the Confederation des syndicats nationaux (CSN) tried to organize at Amazon in Montreal. In April 2022 Teamsters Local Union 362 filed a second time for a unionization vote at the Amazon warehouse in Nisku, south of Edmonton.

Workers at an Amazon facility first formed a union in April 2022 at the “JFK8” distribution centre on Staten Island in New York State. The newly formed Amazon Labor Union, or ALU, said it wanted longer breaks for warehouse employees, more time off and a dramatically higher minimum hourly wage of US$30, up from just over $18 an hour at the facility.

Unifor is Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing 315,000 workers in every major area of the economy.