Local 6 of the Service Employees Union (SEIU), after years of organizing at Amazon’s security contractor, Security Industry Specialists, has forced the mammoth retailer to dump the anti-union company.
SEIU gained union representation and a contract under a new security contractor for around 1,000 security workers. SIS had kept anti-union, racist control over the workers since 2012.
The union has long persisted in organizing, helping the workers at Amazon carry out a number of demonstrations. SEIU protests were held on May 22 at Amazon’s annual stockholders’ meeting and again at the May Day March for Worker and Immigrant Rights, which also rallied at Amazon. These two actions contributed to forcing the world retail juggernaut to cave and dump its partner, SIS. Amazon’s wealth includes nearly 40 corporate towers in the area of downtown Seattle.
The Rev. Jesse Jackson has been among those calling for Amazon to switch to a union contractor. SIS has also come under fire for mistreating its Muslim workers, interfering with their right to hold prayer breaks.
SIS is preparing to lay off 1,066 workers as part of the process in which the workers will supposedly be rehired by the new contractor, Allied Universal. Another union contractor, Securitas, will handle Amazon security in other North American cities.
SEIU Director of External Organizing Eric Ramirez said both Allied Universal and Securitas are signatories to the union master agreement, which includes annual raises, health benefits with an employer contribution to premiums, scheduling protections, bereavement leave, vacation pay and a union grievance process.