Amazon made big news on Tuesday when it announced it was implementing a $15 minimum wage for all employees.
Part of the story was why Amazon raised wages. Some pointed to low unemployment while others pointed to popular criticism of Amazon’s labor practices. That criticism was expemplied by the Stop BEZOS Act targeting Amezon that was introducted in the Senate by Bernie Sanders.
The author of this blog falls into Amazon critics category. Last November I coined the phrase “Shameless” economy, based on the show Shameless, to describe how Amazon misclassifisied delivery dirvers as contractors.
While Amazon may win applause for raising the wages of employees, by classifiying workers as contractors they are excluding those workers from the benefits of emplyoees like unemployment and workers’ compensation. Amazon annouced this summer that it was expanding its own inhouse package delivery services and looking to contract with “entrreprenuers”. Contractors aren’t covered by unemployment or workers’ compensation which are beneifts that are mandated by the government. In other words, Amazon is growing its ranks of contractors which reduces its labor costs while receiving good publicity for raising wages for workers they classify as employees.
If you watch Shameless you know the character Frank Gallagher. Frank is a terrible drunk and overall person. But occassionally Frank will seem to get his stuff in order only to fall back into his usual antics. Amazon’s labor practices are like Frank Gallagher’s behavior, every once in awhile he will get his stuff together and demand all sorts of credit. But sooner or later, as the millenials say on social media, he is back on his bulls***.
Keep an eye on Amazon.