The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, with its 1.4 million truck drivers, warehouse workers and other transportation laborers, does not represent any Amazon workers, nor is it organizing them. But the union keeps butting into the e-commerce giant, which ships billions of packages a year.
The Teamsters joined several other major labor unions in filing a petition Thursday asking the Federal Trade Commission to open a wide-ranging study into Amazon's business practices. The unions, which represent more than 5 million U.S. workers, hope to sic the antitrust regulator on a company increasingly reaching into the industries they represent.
The petition asks the FTC to use its broad powers to gather nonpublic information about a company's or industry's effects on commerce. In a 28-page document with 149 footnotes, the unions lay out areas they think the FTC should explore, including whether Amazon requires companies to use more of its services to succeed on its marketplace.
Amazon said it had created more than 500,000 jobs domestically for people with various education levels, training and skills, but various liberal groups have gone after Amazon for its impact on workers, competition and communities around the country. Last year, many of the groups formed a coalition called Athena to coordinate their criticism of the company. Competitors like Walmart have funded research into negative impacts of Amazon.
The company has also become a target for elected officials, including candidates vying to be the Democratic nominee for president. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., has pressured it over the wages and working conditions for its warehouse employees. Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts has said it should be broken up. And former Vice President Joe Biden said last year that he had "nothing against Amazon, but no company pulling in billions of dollars of profits should pay a lower tax rate than firefighters and teachers."
Amazon has yet to disclose receiving requests for information from antitrust investigators at the Justice Department or FTC, and it has not been publicly targeted by state attorneys general, unlike Google and Facebook. The company has continued its push into even faster deliveries and recently announced it was building a warehouse dedicated to the kind of house-brand products that critics say push smaller competitors out of the market.