Law360 Quotes Patrick Scully in Amazon’s ‘Captive’ Delivery Union Test

Sherman & Howard member Patrick Scully often offers his thoughts on labor and union-related legal tests to the media. Here, Law360 quotes him about a case in which Teamsters’ attempt to organize third-party Amazon delivery drivers could usher in more unionization throughout the historically union-free conglomerate, depending on the legal battles with unionizing so-called captive contractors.

Here is an excerpt from the article, “Union For Amazon’s ‘Captive’ Delivery Co. Faces Legal Tests.”

But Patrick Scully, who represents employers as a member at Sherman & Howard LLC, said the issue of whether joint employer allegations have more merit when a captive contractor is involved has not been thoroughly litigated.

If the Teamsters are successful at bringing Amazon to the bargaining table, however, the impact could reverberate beyond BTS.

For employers, “it’s particularly challenging if you have a small group that operates in the context of a much larger group that is organized,” Scully said.

“They have to create, in some cases, completely separate rules for those folks who are unionized,” Scully said. “That’s what the labor movement has historically relied on …. That’s the strategy of organizing in micro units. The idea [is] that you get a foothold, and either people become attracted to the idea of representation or it becomes such a burden to the employer that the employer capitulates.”

However, Scully added, that strategy has not always worked. It’s a tactic that stands in contrast to the one used by the first workers at Amazon to successfully unionize the company’s warehouses. In those campaigns, a challenge repeatedly cited by organizing workers was getting a substantial number of their colleagues on board when each warehouse could house hundreds or even thousands of workers. Smaller bargaining units like the one at BTS may theoretically be easier to organize, but there is no guarantee Amazon’s contractors will be as amenable to organizing as BTS.

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