The rules also apparently prohibit drivers from posting messages on social media that could be considered obscene. This alone would not be remarkable, but it should be noted that these guidelines are applied to drivers who do not work for Amazon and therefore go much further than the company`s official employee base. Instead, drivers are employees of local delivery companies hired by Amazon through its Delivery Service Partners program. However, Schlactus says there`s never been a better time to be a delivery driver or run a delivery business. As more and more sales take place online and more and more companies try to compete in both service and sales, delivery people are in high demand. Despite their Amazon-branded vans and uniforms, the subcontractors don`t officially work for the e-commerce giant. Photo: Todd Van Hoosear, CC BY-SA 2.0. However, in the area of last-mile delivery, Amazon has taken a different approach: expanding its network of contingents and subcontractors. Amazon`s labor deals have already been challenged in court, both by drivers who want to hold the company accountable for unpaid wages and by crash victims who blame Amazon for their injuries. Earlier this year, the company agreed to pay $8.2 million as part of a class action settlement to resolve Claims by Seattle DSP employees regarding missed breaks and overtime pay without admitting wrongdoing. Amazon faces similar complaints in a handful of other states. Solo delivery drivers can make $30,000 to $50,000 a year with nothing more than a passenger car, he says.
If you have a van, you can earn twice as much. To reduce its reliance on the big four (including unionized ups and USPS), Amazon has invested in package delivery. By 2019, about half of Amazon Prime packages in the U.S. will have been delivered by contractors or temporary workers. I live in Southern California, one of Amazon`s largest marketplaces in the world. For years, it was more common here to see white, unmarked pickup trucks with workers dressed in reflective vests rushing into the streets. Today, however, most DSPs rent gray-blue Amazon branded vans and Amazon uniforms for their drivers. And yet, despite their appearance, these subcontracted delivery drivers do not officially work for Amazon. For several years, Amazon has been trying to put its distant delivery operations in order, which have been plagued by accidents, complaints about discarded packages and infamous incidents such as the moment when a contract driver relieved himself in a customer`s aisle. But by exercising more control over these workers, legal experts say, the company has created legal risks for itself. In particular, you can even drive for Amazon without starting a business. Amazon Flex hires independent contractors to deliver packages and pays between $18 and $25 per hour, depending on the job evaluation and review page SideHusl.com.
The document, reviewed by Bloomberg, also requires drivers to refrain from posting ”obscene” posts on social media, follow Amazon-approved training programs, follow instructions from Amazon`s delivery app, and get tested for drugs whenever Amazon representatives request it. In an aggressive social media response to allegations that the company treats its workers poorly, Amazon`s Twitter account @amazonnews denied in March that workers were running out of time for toilet breaks. ”You don`t really believe in bottled pee, do you?” the company said, responding to a tweet from MP Mark Pocan, D-Wis. By acquiring Whole Foods, Amazon immediately added 440 cold stores to its delivery network within a 10-mile radius of 80% of the population. Since the acquisition, Amazon Flex drivers have regularly used Whole Foods stores to drop off and pick up packages in Amazon lockers. The acquisition also improved Amazon`s position in the last-mile market compared to its hybrid retail competitors Walmart and Target. To get the job done, Amazon turns to two groups of drivers: Amazon Flex employees, who, like their counterparts Uber or Instacart, are classified as independent contractors exempt from U.S. labor laws; and DSP drivers who are classified as employees of local logistics companies. Amazon launched the DSP program in 2018 and introduced it as a way to support small business owners. Amazon has decided not to directly employ DSP drivers, a deal that protects it from the costs and liabilities incurred by the work. However, Amazon`s growing influence over its delivery partners could convince courts and government agencies that the company is indeed a ”joint employer” or a ”vicariously responsible” party.
The majority of these drivers in Southern California work eight to 10 hours and earn about $15 an hour. Many do not receive health insurance benefits. Why is Amazon`s requirement to hire drivers and not contract with them so expensive? Because it subjects the delivery company to a variety of expenses, ranging from payroll taxes, workers` compensation contributions, and unemployment insurance levies to significant additional liabilities. ”When an independent contractor has an accident, they cover the damage and liability from their own insurance,” Schlactus explains. ”If it`s your employee, you`re responsible. Amazon`s logistics infrastructure is based on this exploitation and hyper-monitoring of warehouse employees and contract deliverers. In the world workers` organization, it will be crucial for workers` power to connect these two groups. Amazon`s recent DSP contract and the policy these companies must follow contain several provisions that protect the retailer from any additional liability or embarrassment. PSDs are required to have guidelines for ”employment at will,” management`s discretion to fire workers for almost any reason or without giving reasons. The thousands of people who drive these ubiquitous Amazon-branded blue vans are not employed at leviathan in Seattle. They work for small independent companies with parcel transport contracts for Amazon. But that didn`t stop the company from dictating the condition of their nails — and much more.
”There is a shortage of commercial drivers, which means they can have better conditions and better conditions than ever before in the recent past,” he adds. Between Flex and DSPs, Amazon`s growing market power has introduced a new level of exploitation for thousands of delivery drivers, many of whom are workers of color and immigrants. .