Glenn Spencer Glenn Spencer
Senior Vice President, Employment Policy Division, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


April 27, 2023


On April 25, newspapers reported that the Teamsters union had successfully organized workers at Amazon. There’s just one problem: they didn’t. Reading the fine print, it turns out that the Teamsters organized 84 drivers and dispatchers at a company called Battle Tested Strategies. Not only are those workers not employees of Amazon, but the company no longer provides any services to Amazon.  According to a spokesperson for Amazon: “This particular third-party company had a track record of failing to perform and had been notified of its termination for poor performance well before today’s announcement.” 

So, while the Teamsters may be happy to have recruited a handful of new members, that success bears no resemblance to the thunderous headlines. And therein lies a problem for organized labor.   

Over the past year, there have been countless news articles about a resurgence in organizing, and campaigns against a few major businesses have gathered outsized media attention. But behind the hype, there’s not much “there” there.  The campaign against Starbucks seems to be running out of steam, there have been several losses at facilities that do have Amazon employees, including a re-run campaign in Alabama, and union density fell in 2022 to a new low of just 10.1 percent of the workforce. Organizing 84 drivers and dispatchers at a small contractor isn’t going to turn that around. 

Clearly the unions hope that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will alter the policy landscape significantly enough that they can pick up millions of new members without a lot of effort. And the NLRB, particularly the General Counsel, is trying to make that a reality. But Congress and the Courts will have much to say about that. In addition, despite the seeming popularity of unions in polling, few workers actually want to join up. In fact, 58% of non-unionized workers have “no interest” in joining a union, with another 22 percent having marginal interest at best. Only 11% are extremely interested. 

No doubt, the Teamsters can feel good about winning an election. Unfortunately for them, it’s just not the election they wanted.   

About the authors

Glenn Spencer

Glenn Spencer

Spencer oversees the Chamber’s work on immigration, retirement security, traditional labor relations, human trafficking, wage hour and worker safety issues, EEOC matters, and state labor and employment law.

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