Amazon seems to be bringing home delivery services as quickly as possible as the company ramps up efforts to get packages to Prime members a day. But even though the bright-blue vans and uniformed drivers all have the Amazon brand on them, at least 250 subcontractors around the country do all the heavy lifting. — a system that allows Amazon to waive liability when excessive pressure on a driver means disaster. , according to a new report.
The company has encouraged workers to quit their jobs and start local delivery companies that they can contract with. Working under pressure to make as many deliveries as possible, as quickly as possible, and with lax regulatory oversight, drivers delivering items for Amazon have been involved in “hundreds” of accidents and another event five years ago, BuzzFeed News reports. At least six people were killed in those incidents, including a 10-month-old child.
Amazon’s exclusive delivery services now about half of all the company’s last mile shipments, bringing products from the local warehouse to your door. The US Postal Service and UPS between them take a large share of the other half. Professional commercial delivery companies, such as UPS and FedEx, are subject to heavy government regulation, and their commercial vehicles are subject to regular safety inspections. But the same is not true for Amazon.
The “sprinter” custom vans Amazon’s delivery services use fall under a weight limit that would subject them to Department of Transportation oversight, BuzzFeed notes. Amazon bought about 20,000 of those vans from Mercedes-Benz last year, which it leases to companies that deliver its goods. The vans are subject to annual state safety inspections, as are passenger vehicles in many states, but the vehicles are not held to the same inspection, repair, and maintenance standards as a UPS truck would be.
“We’ve invested tens of millions of dollars in security measures across our network, and constantly communicate security best practices to drivers,” Amazon told BuzzFeed. “We are committed to major investments and management focus to continually improve our safety performance.”
Safety training is also very difficult in large delivery companies. Applicants and employees face drug testing and must pass entrance exams before they are hired. “Even the smallest fender benders trigger internal investigations to identify who is at fault and how such accidents can be avoided in the future,” BuzzFeed noted.
In some cases, though, it seems almost anyone with a driver’s license can get a job delivering Amazon packages. Some lawsuits filed against the company after accidents have identified drivers with previous convictions for traffic violations. A former employee of an Amazon delivery company told BuzzFeed that in the first week of his training, the shady driver first backed into a light post before speeding, then blew through several stop signs and finally ran a red light before to crash into. the motorcycle is going the other way. The driver at the time had been pulled over several times in the previous eight years, BuzzFeed found: twice for going more than 20 km per hour over the posted speed limit, and once for running a stop sign.
The former employee told BuzzFeed that he quit on the first day of solo driving after completing his training. “I thought, ‘No, this is crazy. I have 160 packages and it’s raining, you can’t even see it,'” she told BuzzFeed. “I got the truck back and went to tell the guy. saying, ‘This is it. I’ve done it.'”
The companies also face little scrutiny for their own bad practices, BuzzFeed reports. Amazon contracts with at least a dozen companies that BuzzFeed identified as “repeatedly sued or cited by regulators for alleged labor violations, including failure to pay overtime, denying employees vacations, discrimination, harassment sex, and other forms of worker abuse.” Two drivers working for an Amazon delivery center in the Los Angeles area told BuzzFeed they were told to skip meals, use bottles instead of taking real bathroom breaks, and not wear seat belts (which it is asked in California) in order to speed up.
Amazon has a lot of business relying on a shadowy network of third party companies to do business under its brand banner. A large number of “employees” for many technology companies are actually employees of contract companies.
“Gig economy” businesses like Uber and Lyft classify the people who work for them as independent contractors, not as employees of the company, but many as full-time employees for tech companies. Popularity is also actually working for staffing agencies. or less intermediaries.
The job of content moderation in particular tends to be outsourced to third party companies. Various reports in recent years have exposed them not good working environment we had lack of support workers, who try to keep big platforms like YouTube and Facebook usable, meet the effort to do the job.
More than half, about 54%, of Google’s global staff are in fact not Google employees at all, and these staff do not receive the same level of payment or extensive benefits. Frustrated by that workforce, more than 90,000 strong, bubbled over earlier this year, the result is that Google requires all companies it contracts with to offer a minimum wage of $15, paid sick days, health benefits, paid parental leave, and tuition reimbursement benefits. About 90 contract workers for Google in Pittsburgh, real employees of a company called HCL America, voted before Labor Day. to unite.
Drivers for an Amazon delivery company attempted to unionize in 2017, BuzzFeed reports. Detroit local workers for Silverstar Delivery voted 22-7 to join the Teamsters. Within weeks of the vote, the drivers reported to the National Labor Relations Board that they had been fired in retaliation for joining the union. (The NLRB dismissed the retaliation charge, but ultimately settled with Silverstar for more than $15,000 to settle other claims of union bankruptcy.) A few months later, Silverstar completely shut down its Michigan operation.
Shortly thereafter, Amazon held a meeting in Chicago with management from local delivery companies. “The whole purpose of the meeting is to tell you, ‘This is how not to unite. Because if you do, we don’t want anything to do with a union,'” a second person told BuzzFeed.