Worker’s Correspondence: Amazon Drivers Brace for Post-Holiday Layoffs

Amazon delivery trucks outside south Austin Amazon Delivery Station, Photo credit: Austin Business Journal

By Henry Underwood

A delivery driver working for a local Amazon distribution center told Tribune of the People that he had taken the job expecting full-time employment, but that recent company projections suggested there would be severe layoffs following the holiday season. He started delivering packages for Amazon through an independent contracting company in August of this year, but now he’s unsure whether he will have his job after Christmas.

“I relocated to Austin under the impression that this was going to be a full-time, nonseasonal job. All of a sudden, we start hearing about post-holiday layoffs,” he said. “No mention of post-holiday layoffs ever came up when we had our interviews with the CEO [of the contracting company].”

“The latest report from Amazon we saw is forecasting a 30% decrease in volume for our warehouse,” he said, “which I assume is going to lead to a 30% decrease in staff, if not more.”

He emphasized that after the forecasts were released, company management refused to communicate with him about his post-season job security, despite repeated efforts to get a solid answer. This constant uncertainty quickly turned to dread. “If I’m not going to have a job in three weeks, I need to know about it right now. I needed to know about it three months ago,” he said. “I need to know if I can buy my family decent gifts for Christmas, or if I need to save that money up for next month’s rent instead.”

By contrast, his employer has seen a lucrative year overall, he told Tribune, expanding its five-van operation into an entire fleet of Amazon delivery vehicles—a fleet operated, of course, by the more than 200 drivers who live in fear of unemployment and financial desperation in the midst of the New Depression.

“Am I one of the 30% that are gonna get dropped? I have nightmares about that. I worry about it,” the driver told Tribune. “It’s a pit in my stomach that just sits there. This is my only source of income.”

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