Senate Democrats want answers on 'dangerous' Amazon delivery system

Senate Democrats want answers on 'dangerous' Amazon delivery system
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Three Senate Democrats are asking Amazon to respond to reports that it is skirting regulations and creating a dangerous environment for employees and the public with its delivery system. 

Sens. Richard Blumethal (D-Conn.), Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn the Money — Student borrowers stare down rising prices Biden selects Sarah Bloom Raskin, two others for Fed board Sinema, Manchin curb Biden's agenda MORE (D-Ohio) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Memo: 2024 chatter reveals Democratic nervousness We are America's independent contractors, and we are terrified Fed's Brainard faces GOP pressure on climate stances MORE (D-Mass.) penned a letter dated Thursday asking Amazon to answer a series of questions about its delivery practices. 

The senators asked Amazon to spell out how the company chooses its third-party delivery companies and how many companies Amazon contracts with. The letter also asks Amazon to describe steps it takes to ensure drivers and warehouse employees are treated fairly, as well as the qualifications Amazon requires of its drivers.

The senators asked for a response no later than Sept. 27. 

“It is simply unacceptable for Amazon to turn the other way as drivers are forced into potentially unsafe vehicles and given dangerous workloads,” the senators wrote. 

The Democrats claim Amazon’s “aggressive managerial style” contributes to the “strenuous conditions drivers face and has led to a chain of worker abuse.” 

The letter cites an Aug. 31 BuzzFeed News report that described Amazon’s delivery system. The report claimed Amazon skirted regulations by using a network of third-party contractors. 

A subsequent joint report from ProPublica and The New York Times that the senators note found more than 60 accidents since June 2015 involving Amazon delivery contractors, including innocent bystanders who were killed or seriously injured as Amazon delivery workers sought to meet deadlines. 

Amazon defended its “strong safety and labor compliance” in a statement to The Hill. 

“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,” an Amazon spokesperson said. 

The Senate Democrats disagree, claiming Amazon has a “history of ignoring labor laws” and has had fines levied by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 

Warren, who is also running in the Democratic presidential primary has made consumer protection and workplace safety a key point in her 2020 campaign. She’s proposed a plan to break up big tech companies, including Amazon, as one of her many sweeping reform plans.