Workers’ Correspondents: Amazon and Third-Party Employers Lay Off Delivery Driver Hired during Pandemic

By Serran Soledad

Villagrana Logistics Inc. a delivery service provider for Amazon, laid off a worker from their Camarillo location in January, despite her taking on increasingly heavy workloads through the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company cited a “lack of work” as the reason for the lay-off.

“They were essentially saying that there wasn’t enough volume to keep me on. Basically saying people aren’t ordering enough [products] to keep me on the job. However I was there since the middle of last year, and they kept hiring people and hiring people.”

With locations in multiple counties throughout Southern California, Villagrana Logistics Inc. increased their workforce in 2020 to match the high demand for Amazon products during the pandemic.

“I was told [that] prior to the pandemic work was a lot easier, back then they weren’t expecting so much out of you, but because of the pandemic people were relying on you to deliver stuff that they need ’cause they can’t go to the store.”

Delivery service providers are paid minimum wage to work on average 8-10 hours a day, with a delivery quota exceeding 300 Amazon packages in a single shift. When arriving at the Amazon Delivery Center in Camarillo to pick up packages, drivers are regularly rushed and berated by Amazon management, who do not employ them.

Utilizing contracted workers hired by a third party is common for companies like Amazon. Doing so allows them to avoid responsibility in the face of poor work conditions and regular employee turnover.

“They have the money to do it, what’s one worker here? People who probably don’t know what its like to work there are lining up at the door trying to get in, it’s unfortunate,” the correspondent told Tribune. “I feel like everyone’s just a number to them, ’cause regardless they’re gonna be making money—I’m glad I’m not there anymore honestly.”

Amazon boasts that in 2020 they saw a 200% increase in profit while bringing on an estimated 500,000 workers, meeting the US’s growing move towards online shopping, a transition further fueled by the pandemic. Delivery drivers for Amazon are mostly contracted and therefore are not included in the company’s employee data.

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