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20 Sep 2018

Hayley Peterson, Business Insider

USA: Amazon drivers allege lack of overtime pay, missing wages & intimidation; inc. company statement

"Missing wages, grueling shifts, and bottles of urine: the disturbing accounts of Amazon delivery drivers may reveal the true cost of 'free' shipping," 11 Sept 2018

Business Insider spoke with 31 current or recently employed drivers about what it's like to deliver packages for Amazon... Amazon also uses FedEx, UPS, and USPS, as well as third-party courier companies that it calls delivery service partners... paying third-party companies to deliver packages is a cost-effective alternative to providing full employment... [D]rivers described a variety of alleged abuses, including lack of overtime pay, missing wages, intimidation, and favoritism. Drivers also described a physically demanding work environment in which, under strict time constraints, they felt pressured to drive at dangerously high speeds, blow stop signs, and skip meal and bathroom breaks... In response to this story, Amazon said that some challenges exist within its wide network of delivery providers and that it's working to improve the system... "While it is impossible to characterize a network of thousands of delivery drivers based on anecdotes, we do recognize small businesses sometimes need more support when scaling fast," Amazon spokeswoman Amanda Ip said in a statement to Business Insider. "We have worked with our partners, listened to their needs, and have implemented new programs to ensure small delivery businesses serving Amazon customers have the tools they need to deliver a great customer and employee experience."

... Others, including several labor experts, said they felt blame should be placed with Amazon, adding that the company was pressuring courier companies to deliver more, faster. They said Amazon was profiting off cheap labor that it doesn't have to protect because it's outsourcing the job to companies that it doesn't adequately supervise.