- San Diego-based last-mile carrier Letter Ride will lay off nearly 900 workers as of Dec. 7, after Amazon canceled its contract with the provider. The e-tailer confirmed to Supply Chain Dive it has ceased working with Letter Ride. The carrier did not respond to requests for comment.
- Letter Ride will lay off 474 workers in California and 423 in Texas, according to Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notices (WARN) submitted to the relevant state governments.
- This last mile shake-up and about 700 other layoffs at Atlanta-based Inpax follow a Buzzfeed and ProPublica investigation that found drivers from these two carriers and a third in Chicago-based Sheard-Loman Transport, were involved in fatal crashes while delivering Amazon packages. The number of layoffs related to the carriers named in the investigation likely exceeds 2,000, by ProPublica and Buzzfeed's count.
An Amazon spokesperson told Supply Chain Dive the decision to end its relationships with Letter Ride and Inpax, which is also laying off hundreds amid similar circumstances, is the result of regular review of the customer service and safety records of such carriers, adding that the drivers are being offered opportunities to deliver Amazon packages with other Amazon partners.
Amazon wrote in a letter to Congress earlier this year that it works with roughly 800 delivery partners, ProPublica reported. Amazon contractors have been involved in 60 serious crashes, 10 resulting in fatalities, according to the original investigation published in September, which did not name the contractors involved in the crashes. A subsequent article enumerating the layoffs named the carriers.
"Amazon has repeatedly said in court that it is not responsible for the actions of its contractors, citing agreements that require them, as one puts it, to 'defend, indemnify and hold harmless Amazon,'" reads the investigation.
An Amazon spokesperson sent the following comment to ProPublica, according to the report:
"Amazon is proud of our strong safety and labor compliance record across our transportation network of employees and contractors, and we continue to drive improvements that benefit our transportation providers, our customers and the public. We have strict requirements for safety and labor wages and working conditions that meet or exceed the law. We also require comprehensive insurance, competitive wages, working hours and numerous other safeguards for our delivery service providers and regularly audit to ensure compliance. Safety is and will remain Amazon’s top priority as evidenced by the vast percentage of deliveries that arrive on time and without incident."
With hundreds of contractors still in good standing and growing internal capacity for last-mile delivery, these shifts are unlikely to make a dent in Amazon's overall last-mile capacity.