I have posted about the gig economy before. This is an evolution of that. Amazon is now doing it, and this is an analysis of who is going to pay when there is an injury.
Don’t Get Hit by or in an Amazon Van
By WorkcompLawProf Share
All the issues we have seen emerging from employee classification—or misclassification—were likely to come to a head in the context of a large multistate employer. And Amazon is the perfect catalyst. When Amazon “entrepreneurs” hit someone in an Amazon van—that we will be told really isn’t an Amazon van—and it will assuredly happen, the driver will be hurt, or worse, and so, somewhere (many such somewheres) will a third-party. This is not speculative, it is reasonably foreseeable. So, the question that I pose to every first-year law student at the University of Wyoming College of Law springs to the fore: who is going to pay? Because somebody is going to pay (even if we return de facto to the 19th century and that somebody is the victim). Much of what will play out is excruciatingly predictable.
Amazon had already “Uberized” its “last mile” delivery services through a “platform” structure known as “Amazon Flex.” Now Amazon has announced a new “Delivery Service Partners” program, described as the company’s attempt to build its own delivery alternative to USPS, FedEx, the U.S. Postal Service and other traditional shipping companies.
“The new program lets anyone run their own package delivery fleet of up to 40 vehicles with up to 100 employees. Amazon works with the entrepreneurs — referred to as ‘Delivery Service Partners’ — and pays them to deliver packages while providing discounts on vehicles, uniforms, fuel, insurance, and more. They operate their own businesses and hire their own employees, though Amazon requires them to offer healthcare, paid time off, and competitive wages. Amazon said entrepreneurs can get started with as low as $10,000 and earn up to $300,000 annually in profit.”
According to reports, Amazon “now has 7,000 truck trailers and 40 jumbo jets that shuttle packages to and from 125 fulfillment centers across the world.”