This year, Windsor was been selected as the location for Amazon Canada’s newest delivery station. The megacorporation purchased a 27-acre parcel of land near Central Avenue and Plymouth Drive on April 1, 2022. Those who have resided in Windsor for some time will know that this is the land formerly used by Chrysler’s Pillette Road Truck Assembly Plant, which operated in Windsor from that location from 1974 until 2003. The land was purchased this year for nearly $12 million.

Operations for the delivery station are set to start in 2024. This blog post provides some insight into the new development.

What is a delivery station?

A delivery station is an essential component of Amazon’s order process. This is the location from which Amazon packages are received from Amazon fulfillment and sortation centres and loaded into vehicles to deliver to consumers. In other words, the delivery station is the last stop before product reaches the homes of Canadians.

Workers at the delivery station receive orders by truck and prepare them for delivery. They load conveyor belts, transport and stage deliveries, and even use technology for the transport of larger items like furniture and appliances.

It is yet to be confirmed exactly how many jobs Windsor’s Amazon Delivery Warehouse will create, but early projections suggest it will create hundreds of opportunities.

Why Windsor was the selected location

As residents and companies operating in Windsor know, Windsor is a great city with a lot of potential. Windsor is strategically located at an important gateway between Canada and the United States. Notably, the city possesses North America’s most used international cargo crossing, the Ambassador Bridge. It also provides access to the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel, the Canadian Pacific Railway tunnel, and the Detroit-Windsor Truck Ferry. From Windsor, it is easy to access both Highway 401 in Canada and I-95 in the United States, providing convenient travel across major markets in both countries.

Employees hope to unionize

With new jobs come fresh considerations of how employment and labour law can protect hopeful employees. There are important developments happening across Canada in other Amazon warehouses that may have a ripple effect at the upcoming Windsor warehouse. Currently, Teamsters has created a Canada-wide campaign to organize a union for Amazon workers.

Despite pressure from Teamsters, an Amazon spokesperson, Ryma Boussafa, has indicated that the company does not feel that unionization is the best option for its employees.

Unionized vs. non-unionized employment relationships

The debate regarding the unionization of Amazon’s employees is one echoed across many industries in Ontario. Whether a workplace is governed by a collective agreement (and is, therefore, unionized) or not has a significant impact on the employer-employee relationship.

The relationship between non-union employees and their employer is usually governed by an employment contract. By contrast, union employees can understand their rights and entitlements with respect to their employer through a collective agreement. Unlike the employment contract, a collective agreement applies to all union employees rather than to individuals. This ensures consistency across each class of employee.

The negotiation process also varies between unionized and non-unionized employment relationships. If a non-union employee wants a raise, for instance, they might schedule a one-on-one meeting with their employer to plead their case for higher wages. When an employee is part of a union, raises must be negotiated through the collective agreement. Together, members of the union must determine if they actually want to ask for the raise. Similarly, because unions work on a collective basis, there are specific rules for when and how an employee may be promoted.

Union employees have a different relationship with their employers

As with any employer facing a potential unionization drive, Amazon will need to consider the rights granted to unionized employees. Generally, union employees have more power and more job protection. Because a union represents and acts as a group, various actions they take, such as striking, have the potential to disrupt their employer’s operations significantly. They also may be entitled to more regular wage increases.

However, unionization is not solely negative for the employer. Working under a collective agreement can help create safer worksites and a fairer work culture.

Contact the Employment and Labour Lawyers at Willis Business Law for Questions About Unionization

Whether employees of Windsor’s new Amazon delivery warehouse decide to unionize is yet to be seen. However, the Teamsters vs. Amazon debate echoes many of the questions faced by employers across Ontario regarding unionization.

The skilled employment and labour lawyers at Willis Business Law provide robust, pragmatic advice and legal solutions regarding the unionization process and collective bargaining to employers. The firm helps to secure employers’ financial and operational needs while reducing their overall risk.

Located in the heart of Windsor’s financial district, Willis Business Law also assists clients with mediation services, corporate governance, privacy issues and more. To schedule a consultation with a lawyer, please call 519-945-5470 or contact the firm online.

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