Just a few weeks have passed since the Amazon Prime Now service was launched in Los Angeles and other metropolitan areas and the first scandal related to the service is about the start, according to Huffington Post.
The service, which promises one and two-hour deliver times for a wide variety of products available in the retailer’s offer, basically relies on drivers, who, apparently, are receiving less money than promised.
Four Amazon Prime Now former drivers, from Southern California, claim that they have made deliveries for about a month, right before filling complaints, due to violations of the minimum wage and overtime pay laws.
As the same source states, they have even intended a lawsuit, which is another proof of Amazon’s ‘unusual’ methods of keeping prices low by keeping labor costs low in its logistics network.
Still, it seems that the drivers that filed complaints were not actually Amazon employees, as they had agreements as “independent contractors”, working for a courier service called Scoobeez.
The latter has a contract with Amazon, so the retailer isn’t obliged to pay taxes, compensation costs or unemployment insurance taxes for them. Besides this, since they’re independent contractors, Scoobeez doesn’t deal with these costs either, so the drivers must cover all these expenses by themselves, alongside car service and gasoline.
The claim filed by the Amazon Prime Now drivers states that the arrangement between the retailer and Scoobez runs afoul of labor law, as after covering all costs, the drivers would fall behind California’s minimum wage of $9 per hour.
“This is brand-new ground for Amazon. They have the opportunity to make it right before this becomes a very entrenched business practice. They can set themselves apart from the rest of so-called sharing economy.” Beth Ross, the attorney who filed the case intended by the Amazon Prime Now drivers said of the service.