Pilots supporting strikes less than ‘Prime’ for Amazon

Credit Teamsters Local 1224

Pilots flying for carriers on behalf of Amazon Air have shown their solidarity for striking Amazon workers this week during the giant e-tailer’s Amazon Prime Day.

Amazon Prime Day actually extends over two days this year: yesterday (15 July) and today (16 July). It is an important time in the Amazon calendar, when the world’s biggest online sales platform offers much-publicised discounts across a wide range of products to its Prime customers.

Amazon has a global workforce of more than 600,000 people, and thousands of them based at a number of the retailer’s sites around the world have staged protests at what they regard as poor pay and working conditions.

Meanwhile, pilots working for Atlas Air, Southern Air and ABX Air – all of which fly for Amazon Air – have launched a digital advertising campaign that raises concerns about how they are being overworked and underpaid by their carriers.

Moreover, Teamsters Local 1224 — which represents pilots at these three carriers — sent Captain Michael Russo to Shakopee, Minnesota, to be on the ground with striking Amazon workers and show the union’s support.

Daniel Wells, an Atlas Air pilot and president of Teamsters Local 1224, commented: “Pilots who fly for Amazon Air at Atlas Air, Southern Air and ABX Air stand in solidarity with the warehouse workers in Shakopee planning to strike on Prime Day.

“As we know firsthand, Amazon’s business model too often neglects the well-being of the workers who make the e-commerce giant so incredibly successful.

“We’re proud to be the airline professionals who fly the planes that deliver Amazon’s packages to millions of Americans, but we want to make sure we’re engaged in a sustainable, long-term operation. We hope that Amazon takes seriously these striking workers’ calls for change.”

The pilots’ union are currently in dispute with Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings regarding terms and conditions.

In response, Amazon said: “Roughly 15 associates participated in the event outside of the Shakopee fulfillment center. It was obvious to the 1500-full-time workforce that an outside organisation used Prime Day to raise its own visibility, conjured misinformation and a few associate voices to work in their favor, and relied on political rhetoric to fuel media attention.

“The fact is that Amazon provides a safe, quality work environment in which associates are the heart and  soul of the customer experience, and today’s event shows that our associates know that to be true. We encourage anyone to come take a tour anytime.

“We are disappointed with the current state of relations between Atlas and their pilot union. Neither side seems willing to work towards a reasonable compromise.

“This is contrary to the interests of Atlas, the pilots, and the customers they both serve. We have an obligation to deliver to our customers, and so do they.”

Meanwhile, Mohit Paul, SVP EMEA at software provider BluJay Solutions, highlighted the logistical challenges faced when catering for Prime Day: “More than 100m products will be on special offers during Amazon Prime Day, and the volume of deliveries passing through the logistics network in this week alone is expected to create an unusually peaked season for all the supply chain.

“High volume of transactions in such a short duration, coupled with intense pressure from consumer expectations, mean that Prime Day can be ‘make or break’ for small to medium businesses.

“With such a challenge on their hands, delivery businesses must harness opportunities for collaboration and streamlined workflow. Otherwise, Prime Day can seem like a risk to revenue rather than an opportunity to profit.

“Supply chain inefficiencies cost UK businesses trading abroad approximately £1.5 bn per year. With the right multi-carrier parcel technology solution, businesses can respond to changing shipping demands seamlessly, enabling them to easily scale and increase shipping volume for peaks such as this. This technology also provides visibility and helps prevent friction in the supply chain by reducing error rates and improving parcel shipping times. 

“Prime Day has become such a big event in the retail calendar that some businesses are feeling pressured to get involved, or risk missing out. But without an efficient and streamlined logistics operation, they may struggle to deliver the fast, convenient delivery modern consumers expect. Otherwise, parcel handlers may find themselves with a little more than they can… handle, this Prime Day.”


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