Amazon's Prime delivery services are very convenient, offering one-day and even same day delivery on items in dozens of US cities. And the people paid to deliver those millions of packages daily are mostly contractors, not making minimum wage, in unsafe conditions, with no breaks, and no benefits.
Several people described instances when they felt their bosses at Amazon-affiliated courier companies took advantage of them.
Four drivers across three companies said their employers misrepresented the job by promising health benefits without following through. One worker said that when he started his job, his employer promised that he would get health benefits within 90 days of employment. He said he was fired within days of qualifying.
Eight workers across four companies said drivers were denied overtime pay, despite working well over 40 hours a week. Thirteen workers across five companies complained about wages missing from paychecks.
"The culture is predatory," said Ku Irvin, who started working as a driver for DeliverOL, in Aurora, Colorado, in November 2016. "It's a revolving door. A lot of promises are made that are not kept."
Nine months later, Irvin became a manager but said he couldn't stomach it. "Once I got behind the desk, I saw what was going on and it was sickening to me," he said.
A few drivers told Business Insider that they felt powerless to address problems because they feared retaliation.
They described the measures they feared as firings, withholding of wages, and denial of work — meaning drivers could be sent home without a delivery route on days they were scheduled.
"If I didn't come in on my day off, they threatened to fire me," Justin Waring, a former driver for Courier Distribution Systems, in Lisle, Illinois, told Business Insider.
A supervisor at a New Jersey-based logistics company, Prime EFS, sent a threatening text to drivers in late April:
"Tomorrow is Saturday. The Weekend. Where everyone wants to call out," read the message, which was viewed by Business Insider. "You're scheduled for tomorrow so I expect everyone confirmed and on time tomorrow. Any callouts I will make sure you do not receive a route for a week." Prime EFS did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this story.
One Richmond, Virginia-based driver at another Amazon-affiliated courier company claimed he was sent home on a scheduled workday as punishment for arriving one minute late.
"That's their way of disciplining you," said the driver, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of getting fired.
I've talked about Amazon's Dickensian warehouses in the past, and things haven't gotten much better there, but I sure as hell wouldn't work for the company's white collar divisions either.
The company is a stain on the country, frankly. It needs to be dismantled.