• Teamsters said the unionizing 84 workers "won neutrality and voluntary recognition" from Battle-Tested
  • An Amazon spokesperson said the drivers "do not work for Amazon" and the contract with Battle-Tested was previously terminated
  • Battle-Tested's owner said he has not received a contract termination notice

Amazon delivery drivers contracted by the e-commerce giant through Battle-Tested Strategies are celebrating their unionization with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters. However, the company reportedly said the 84 unionizing delivery workers "do not work for Amazon."

"In a historic first, Amazon drivers and dispatchers in Palmdale, Calif., have joined the International Brotherhood of Teamsters and reached a strong tentative agreement containing a multitude of workplace improvements," Teamster said in a press release Monday.

The 84 workers "won neutrality and voluntary union recognition," Teamster noted, adding that the union members want "immediate pay increases, substantial hourly raises in the fall, provisions that hold Amazon accountable on health and safety standards, a grievance procedure and other benefits."

Rajpal Singh, an Amazon driver and union member, said that while he and his coworkers have been delivering using an Amazon van and Amazon uniforms, they get ignored when they petition for better working conditions, as per the Teamster press release.

The drivers, who were hired by third-party delivery contractor Battle-Tested Strategies, said they organized with Teamsters "to change our working conditions for the better," according to CNBC.

A tentative agreement between the union members and Battle-Tested is expected to be voted on in the coming weeks.

A spokesperson for Teamsters told CNBC that the agreement reached between the drivers and Battle-Tested Strategies came after employees expressed their concerns about poor working conditions for years. Specifically, employees had problems with excessive heat at the site, the spokesperson said.

Amazon has since responded to the union drive, stating that it had terminated its contract with Battle-Tested before the union announcement was made, but did not provide details as to when the contract ended, CNBC reported.

"Whether the Teamsters are being intentionally misleading or they just don't understand our business, the narrative they're spreading is false. This group of individuals do not work for Amazon," Eileen Hards, an Amazon spokesperson, said in an emailed statement, as reported by Gizmodo.

The statement also said that Battle-Tested "had a track record of failing to perform," adding that the "situation is more about an outside company trying to distract from their history of failing to meet their obligations."

"As far as I'm aware, my contract is legal until October 3, 2023," Johnathon Ervin, Battle-Tested owner, said in a phone call with Gizmodo. Ervin denied receiving a contract termination or prior notice of his company's poor performance from Amazon.

Ervin said Amazon's statement was "despicable" and an example of "retaliation techniques" against organizing workers, as per Gizmodo. He added that his lawyers were looking into the matter and the company would continue delivering packages.

Ervin further revealed to the Los Angeles Times that he was offered $75,000 by Amazon to end the contract but has not yet responded to the offer. Ervin, who said his average driver earns $19.75 per hour, added that he has forwarded his drivers' concerns about increased pay and van maintenance to Amazon, but the e-commerce company has not done anything about them, the outlet reported.

Workers protested Monday outside the DAX8 delivery station, but their concerns fell on deaf ears, according to Insider.

Drivers under Amazon's Delivery Service Partner (DSP) program, of which Battle-Tested is part of, previously told Insider that they were targeted for robberies and were monitored through cameras installed in vans. Some said they had to pee inside water bottles to avoid taking bathroom breaks, which could make them miss their delivery targets.

DSP drivers also told the outlet that they feared recrimination if they didn't hit targets of package deliveries ranging between 170 and 350 per shift. The workers also said that since they did not work directly for Amazon, they had "little ability to present their grievances," Insider reported.

The voluntary recognition from Battle-Tested is the first successful Amazon-related union by the Teamsters, according to Vice News.

Victor Mineros, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 396, the specific local that the group of Amazon delivery drivers organized with, told Vice News that the union is confident "this will lead other Amazon workers nationwide to organize." He said he commends the courage of the drivers "to take on this greedy multibillion-dollar corporation."

An Inc driver stands next to an Amazon delivery truck in Los Angeles, California, May 21, 2016. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson/File Photo