Amazon has abruptly canceled its contracts with three major delivery firms, a move that will put more than 2,000 people out of work and may signal a shift in how the online retail giant plans to deliver millions of packages to homes across the country every day.
Inpax Shipping Solutions, based in Atlanta, has told employment regulators in six states that it would lay off at least 925 employees beginning Oct. 2 and would cease all delivery services for Amazon by early December, according to government records.
Another contractor, Sheard-Loman Transport, said in a court filing late last month that its Amazon contract would not be renewed, a move that it called “completely unexpected and a cause for serious concern,” and that is said would lead to the firing of roughly 200 employees in three states. The firm, headquartered in Chicago, said it would cease delivering Amazon packages on Sept. 30.
And a third company, San Diego-based Letter Ride LLC, told labor authorities in California and Texas that in early December it would begin laying off 897 drivers, dispatchers and other employees.
The contract terminations follow recent investigations of Amazon’s fast-growing delivery network by BuzzFeed News and ProPublica, which focused on how the intense financial and deadline pressure Amazon puts on its growing fleet of independent delivery contractors can lead to worker mistreatment and threaten public safety. The news organizations documented deaths linked to each of these three contractors.
In December 2016, a van driven by an Inpax employee hit and killed Telesfora Escamilla, an 84-year old grandmother in Chicago. The driver was charged with reckless homicide but ultimately acquitted. A civil suit brought by the family of the victim claims that Amazon put undue time pressure on Inpax and its drivers; the suit is pending and Amazon has denied responsibility.