The huge volume of orders over the holiday season, according to an Amazon delivery person from the previous year, “makes life terrible.” If this year’s customers tell their hired staff to “Alexa, thank my driver,” they will receive a $5 tip.

The DC Attorney General is suing Amazon for allegedly misleading customers by utilizing gratuities to pay couriers’ base salaries, according to other news that has surfaced today.

According to Bloomberg, Amazon spokesperson Maria Boschetti said in a statement that “consumer trust is crucial to us.” “This complaint, which has no merit, relates to a procedure we changed three years ago. As part of a deal with the FTC from last year, all of the customer tips in question had already been given to drivers.

The company claims it is holding a promotion in conjunction with the launch of the new thank you feature to mark the upcoming achievement of 15 billion products delivered. A driver will receive $5 if they are among the first 1,000,000 people to receive a thank you. The top five drivers will each get a $10,000 bonus and an additional $10,000 will be donated to the charity of their choice.

That means that through this campaign, Amazon will pay its employees around $5.1 million. For example, Amazon paid anti-union consultants more than $4.3 million last year.

Beryl Tomay, vice president of Last Mile Delivery at Amazon, stated in a press release that “for drivers, it’s more than just the packages that they deliver — they form relationships with customers, offer support to the community in trying times, and sometimes play the role of the unexpected hero.”

According to the Amazon Flex website, these “surprise heroes” are thought to earn between $18 and $25 per hour. Drivers hired by Amazon Flex are independent contractors who utilize their own vehicles to make deliveries on their own schedules. Through Delivery Service Partners (DSP), which are independent companies, Amazon also hires drivers.

The holiday season frequently forces delivery drivers to stay late into the night, increasing the risk of their employment, according to a story by VICE from the previous year. Some delivery drivers claim that when they make a delivery at night, firearms are pulled on them, while other drivers drive with their seatbelts fastened in order to complete their runs more quickly. Additionally, despite Amazon’s vehement denial that this is a frequent practice, drivers are still peeing in bottles. In response, Amazon sent out a memo advising drivers to look for a paw print indicator in the “delivery notes” portion of the app so that they “aren’t startled by our four-legged clients.” Then, in October, a driver was fatally bitten by dogs while on the job.

An Amazon Prime driver makes a delivery to a home, on Oct. 9, 2020, in Celebration, Fla.

These late-night deliveries are still common practice, according to posts on a Reddit community for Amazon drivers.

One user said yesterday on Reddit, “Unfortunately there are a lot of locations I just pull up to and they are straight out sketched out worrying if they’re being robbed. I always use flashers and leave some of my vest exposed, but that’s the most I can do in these embarrassing circumstances to try to identify myself. The user claimed they requested their DSP for an Amazon-branded jacket to make it more evident they were an employee, but they were told they needed to have worked for Amazon for at least one month.

However, these investments fall short of the aspirations of certain labor advocates, who pushed for a $5 per hour hike. Amazon recently made investments to enhance benefits and wages for its warehouse workers and delivery drivers by around $1 per hour. Amazon will invest almost $1 billion on this effort over the upcoming year. These investments come at a time when studies claim that, due to the significant turnover in these positions, Amazon may actually run out of American warehouse workers to hire by 2024.

Given all of the labor organizing among angry Amazon contractors, as well as Amazon’s failure to play by the rules while these workers campaign for better conditions, these $5 thank you cards may therefore appear like just another consolation reward. On the other hand, if you’re getting a delivery today, you might as well take a second to ask Alexa to thank the delivery person.


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