Amazon Prime air pilots protest working conditions

Last week, a billboard truck rolled by Amazon’s corporate HQ in Seattle. Its rotating messages read: “No Amazon Prime Air Without Pilots,” “Don’t Ground Prime Air” and “Prime(d) for Disaster.”

The protest isn’t inspired by Amazon directly, but by the company’s Prime Air partners, Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings and Air Transport Services Group, Inc. Per Geekwire, Teamsters Local 1224 pilots hope to draw attention to what they say are poor working conditions and low compensation at these carriers, and to provoke Amazon to exert pressure on their partners to improve.

“We want Prime Air to succeed, and that’s why it’s our responsibility to expose the ticking time bomb behind the marketing hype and let customers and investors know what’s really going on” said Capt. Michael Griffith, a Prime Air pilot, in a statement. “Our airlines are hemorrhaging pilots at a record rate, and with customers counting on us to deliver, Amazon can’t afford to ignore the substandard pay and conditions that continue to undermine our operations. The busiest time of the year is fast approaching, and Amazon should urge our airlines to work with pilots to address the staffing crisis and get Prime Air on track.”

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7 shock-worthy facts about Amazon
7.5 percent of Seattle's working-age population are Amazon employees

Amazon has more than 300,000 employees worldwide, and 40,000 in Seattle alone.

As a portion of the city's working-age population — roughly 528,000 — that comes out to 7.5% of the city working at Amazon.

For perspective, if the same portion of New York City's adults worked for one company, that company would have about 488,000 locals on staff.

Amazon accounts for 43% of all online sales

Amazon used to be a way to buy books online; today, it's the default buying site for just about everything, especially for people who have Amazon Prime.

An analysis by Slice Intelligence released in February found that 43% of all US online retail sales were done through Amazon in 2016.

That's up from 33% in 2015 and 25% in 2012.

1 out of every 4 US adults has Amazon Prime.

Speaking of Amazon Prime, the company now counts approximately 63 million people among its subscriber base, or about 25% of the total US adult population.

That number may underestimate the true coverage, however, since it doesn't account for multiple adults in one household all sharing the same Prime account.

Amazon ships 1.6 million packages a day

Amazon fulfillment is a beast of its own.

A report from 2013 (the latest year for which data are available) found Amazon shipped 608 million packages that year, or 1.6 million packages a day.

As of 2015, Amazon estimated its fulfillment centers were within 20 miles of 31% of the US population, and within 20 miles of 50-65% of its core, same-day-accessible market.

That's enough cardboard to span all of West Virginia

A back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals all those packages (not including padded envelopes) yield roughly 26,400 square miles of cardboard.

The total land area of West Virginia, meanwhile, is just north of 24,000 square miles.

Given the speed of Amazon's shipments, the company could blanket the whole US in cardboard in about five months.

45,000 robots roam the floors of Amazon's warehouses

To help those shipments leave the warehouses on time, Amazon relies on a growing fleet of autonomous robots that fetch packages from their shelves and bring them to human employees.

The 45,000 robots live across 20 fulfillment centers in the US. In 2016, the company increased the fleet 50% from its prior head count of 30,000.

Amazon is more valuable than all major brick-and-mortar retailers combined

The sum total of those investments in infrastructure and supply chain management have made Amazon by far the most valuable retailer in the United States.

Amazon's $356 billion valuation is so big, it's larger than Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Macy's, Kohl's, JCPenney, and Sears combined.

With the recent acquisition of Whole Foods, there are no signs the retailer has any plans of slowing down.


Ongoing Protests

The billboard truck’s signs directed observers to, which offers details:

  • Prime Air will operate with 40 planes leased from subsidiaries of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW) and Air Transport Services, Group, Inc. (ATSG).1 The new shipping service means that Amazon is using big shipping companies like FedEx and UPS less and less.
  • Instead of working with pilots, executives at the Prime Air contracted carriers (AAWW and ATSG) are ignoring the serious challenges that could jeopardize their ability to handle Amazon’s business. They are taking on the work despite known staffing, attrition and retention problems, and these issues will only get worse.
  • Citing contract violations and forced overtime due to short-staffing, 250 ATSG pilots went on strike in November. More than 75 flights were grounded, creating what Fox Business called a “rocky start” for Prime Air.

The site also refers to a recent survey of Atlas pilots, which showed that 65 percent of pilots planned to leave for a job at another carrier.

Previously, protestors showed up at Amazon’s annual shareholder meeting in May to encourage the company to work on its Prime Air partners. In an emailed to Geekwire, the group said, “We expect Amazon to be a leader on these issues. Because if corporate behavior doesn’t change soon … we’re all in very deep water indeed.”

At the time, Amazon responded:

“Questions about the working environment of our partners is best addressed by them. All of our delivery providers must abide by our Supplier Code of Conduct and we take seriously any allegation that a delivery provider is not meeting those requirements and expectations. That said, we are pleased with our partners’ performance and their continued ability to scale for our customers.”

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The post Amazon Prime Air Pilots Protest Working Conditions appeared first on Career News.

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