Social media platforms have abounded with calls to cancel Amazon since the beginning of the cancel culture. Most of this is for their poor treatment of employees, from firing warehouse workers for demanding better hygiene practices to posting anti-union messages in their bathrooms. The latest news that has brought this trend up again on social media is related to the company stealing tips given to delivery workers.
How did Amazon steal the workers’ tips?
Amazon Flex, a programme and to hire temporary delivery workers who would use their own vehicles for deliveries, started in 2015. It promised the workers to pass on 100% of the tips given by customers, over and above the $18-25 hourly wages. Without disclosing it to these temporary workers, the company started paying a lower hourly wage based on the tips earned towards late 2016. For example, a worker with an initial earning of $20 per hour, was paid $14 per hour if his hourly tips averaged to $6.
What did the drivers do on noticing this?
They first complained to the company on noticing the overall decrease in their earnings. Drivers who complained were sent falsified emails to prove that they were still getting 100% of the tips. Despite repeated complaints and even the negative media reports that followed, the practice continued till August 2019.
What made them discontinue the practice?
They stopped dipping their hands into the tipping jar only after receiving a notice about a government enquiry into the topic. The Federal Trade Commission, a consumer protection body of the US government, began investigating the matter in August 2019.
What is FTC’s conclusion on the matter?
Amazon has reached a settlement with FTC, under which it will be required to pay the Flex program drivers $61,710,583 to compensate for their losses. Additionally, the company has been warned not to misrepresent wages to their workers and take informed consent before reducing the pay of the workers.