Two firms that delivered packages for Amazon in the Portland area sued the tech giant Monday, alleging it imposed “unsafe” and “unreasonable” conditions on the contractors and their drivers — throttling the businesses and injuring personnel.
The two companies, Beaverton-based Triton Transportation and Vancouver-based Last Mile Delivery, stopped delivering Amazon packages in the Portland area last June. Last Mile told drivers at the time that “Amazon has been nickel and diming us so bad” that they couldn’t manage the business profitably or deliver packages safely.
The companies are seeking $15 million, plus damages and attorney fees in the lawsuit, filed Monday in Multnomah County Circuit Court. Amazon said it did not have any immediate comment on the litigation.
Amazon has been facing growing scrutiny from its workers and contractors who allege that the company’s packaging and delivery demands are extreme and unrealistic. The company outsources much of its delivery work to delivery firms, which operate vans painted with Amazon’s logos and whose drivers wear Amazon uniforms.
Triton and Last Mile helped bring national attention to the conditions facing Amazon drivers when the companies stopped delivering packages in the Portland area in June.
In this week’s litigation, Triton and Last Mile allege that Amazon dictated every element of its business, from which drivers they hire to how much it could pay them and the hours they worked.
They accuse Amazon of refusing basic accommodations, such as using smaller vans in the narrow streets of Portland’s West Hills. Amazon “refused to allow Plaintiffs any ability to modify or optimize those routes to account for terrain, density, traffic congestion, construction, or any other important considerations,” according to the complaint.
Drivers frequently worked 12-hour days to meet Amazon’s demands, the contractors say, but Amazon would only reimburse the companies for 10-hour shifts. So the delivery companies had to pay the difference, including overtime, from their own budgets.
And they say Amazon made no accommodations to allow drivers to slow down to avoid creating hazardous situations.
Amazon’s “unreasonable requirements resulted in numerous injuries to Plaintiffs’ drivers, including back injuries resulting from (Amazon’s) fast paced load-out requirements at the warehouse and falls and strains from rushed deliveries,” the plaintiffs allege. “The rushed deliveries also put the public at risk.”
The litigation describes damage to contractors’ vehicles but does not say whether the incidents resulted in damage or injuries to others who didn’t work for the contracting firms or for Amazon.
Triton and Last Mile say Amazon also interfered with their business relationship with vehicle suppliers and others, and provided rival contractors with confidential information about the two companies’ operations and personal information about their drivers.