The job-loss impact in the greater Seattle resulting from e-commerce giant Amazon’s decision earlier this year to move to one-day Prime delivery and expand its Delivery Service Partner program now totals at least some 502 workers at two logistics companies serving the area.
Transportation Brokerage Specialists Inc. (TBS), based in Costa Mesa, California, and Kent-based Delivery Force Corp. have each recently filed WARN Act notices with the state of Washington indicating they will be permanently laying off workers in greater Seattle effective April 16. Delivery Force’s job cuts in King and Snohomish counties will total 272 employees while TBS indicates it will be laying off a total of 230 employees in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.
Amazon’s Delivery Service Partner program is seeking to encourage individuals to launch their own Amazon delivery businesses for as little as a $10,000 investment. As part of the effort, Amazon is offering aspiring business owners training and access to the company’s delivery technology as well as discounts on customized Amazon delivery vans, branded uniforms, fuel, insurance coverage and more. In addition, military veterans can get up to $10,000 in startup costs reimbursed, according to the company, and Amazon also will fund startup costs for its own employees, up to $10,000.
The downside of the plan is that many of Amazon’s existing small and mid-sized “final-mile” contract logistics companies will no longer be needed, contributing to job losses for thousands of delivery drivers across the county.
"Prior to launching the Delivery Service Partner program to empower entrepreneurs to build their businesses with Amazon, we contracted with a number of small logistics companies,” an Amazon spokeswoman said in a statement to the media. “Some of these companies have not met our bar for safety, performance or working conditions, and we’re in the process of exiting them from the program.”
The spokeswoman said the company expects there to be few if any jobs lost overall because drivers laid off as a result of Amazon shedding contract-delivery companies will be able to move to delivery-driver roles through Amazon’s ramped-up Delivery Service Partner program.
The WARN Act requires employers with 100 or more workers to notify workers 60 days prior to any closure or layoffs. Companies also must provide written notice to the Washington’s Employment Security Department and the top elected official in the community where the layoff or closure is occurring.