On Thursday, news broke that Amazon delivery drivers in Palmdale, California have initiated a historic strike, marking the first time such an event has occurred within the company. The drivers, who joined the Teamsters union in April and were acknowledged by Amazon’s “Delivery Service Partner” (DSP) Battle-Tested Strategies in May, are rallying for improved pay and enhanced safety measures. Their protest began on Thursday.
Initially, Motherboard published an article titled “Amazon Delivery Drivers Walk Out in First-Ever Driver Strike.” However, Amazon reached out to the publication, urging them to modify the headline. The Amazon spokesperson stated, “It reads that these drivers are ‘Amazon drivers’ and that is inaccurate given they are employed by Battle-Tested Strategies. Would you update the headline to read ‘drivers delivering for Amazon’?”
“I’m writing to ask if you’d be open to updating your headline of the story you just posted,” the spokesperson wrote. “It reads that these drivers are ‘Amazon drivers’ and that is inaccurate given they are employed by Battle-Tested Strategies. Would you update the headline to read ‘drivers delivering for Amazon’?”
However, Amazon’s immense control over these technically non-employees cannot be ignored. Despite not officially employing them, Amazon exerts significant influence over these individuals. The drivers don Amazon attire and operate delivery trucks adorned with Amazon branding. Furthermore, the company dictates their appearance and online activities, controls their ability to retreat in unsafe circumstances, and enforces AI surveillance as a condition of employment.
Although these drivers wear Amazon uniforms, drive Amazon trucks, identify themselves as Amazon employees, are continuously monitored and surveilled by Amazon managers, and receive their work assignments from Amazon, Amazon has attempted to legally separate itself from these employees through a sham “Delivery Service Partner” (“DSP”) structure. Under this DSP structure, Amazon finds individuals—often with little to no experience running businesses—and purports to help those individuals “start” businesses, all while selling them a false fantasy.
The complaint also highlights that Amazon offers branded trucks and uniforms, sets targets and conditions, and possesses the authority to unilaterally terminate employees. Additionally, the document reveals that Battle-Tested Strategies operates in the same Amazon facility, DAX8, as three other DSPs classified as “similarly captive.”
Furthermore, the document illustrates the challenging conditions the drivers endure. They are forced to navigate scorching temperatures in the desert without proper air conditioning, reaching up to 118 degrees Fahrenheit. Even within the delivery vans, drivers describe sweltering temperatures exceeding 130 degrees, making it feel like “walking into an oven.”
These conditions are unfortunately common in the delivery industry. Just last week, the Teamsters secured a tentative deal with UPS, representing over 340,000 drivers, ensuring that air conditioners will be installed in all small package delivery vehicles.
We have reached out to both the Teamsters Union and Amazon for comments and will update our article accordingly.
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Deepak Sen is a tech enthusiast who covers the latest technological innovations, from AI to consumer gadgets. His articles provide readers with a glimpse into the ever-evolving world of technology.