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Amazon's Laval warehouse workers now unionized

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Workers at Amazon.com Inc.'s Laval warehouse have been granted the right to unionize.

According to the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN), its request was certified by the Quebec Administrative Labour Tribunal on Friday.

The labour union states the 200 workers at the DXT4 warehouse are the first in Canada to be approved for unionization.

It says the hope is to better protect employees and have the company consider the physical limitations of what a human being can do.

"They told us that the usual greeting between them...they say, 'How's your back?'" said Caroline Senneville, CSN president. "It's a really fast-paced environment. Somebody can move up to 300 or even 400 boxes an hour, and some of these boxes are very heavy."

In an e-mail statement to CTV News, Amazon argues that "card check auto-certification" does not allow individuals to have their voices heard.

“If a simple majority of people at an employer have joined a union at any point...then there’s no vote and representation is automatic for all employees," said Barbara M. Agrait, an Amazon spokesperson. "We believe everyone should have the right to get informed and vote based on their current circumstances and beliefs.”

Amazon says it plans to appeal the decision "because of the unfairness of the election processes."

However, the CSN points out that "being part of a union is not the employer's choice. It's the employees' choice."

"It is protected under the Charter of Rights, both in Quebec and in Canada," Senneville tells CTV News. "So, the right to associate, the right to form a union is protected under the law, whether you like it or not as an employer."

In the next few days, workers are expected to hold their first general assembly, where they are slated to adopt a constitution, create bylaws, elect representatives and come up with a list of demands.

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