By 24/7 Staff / www.supplychain247.com / December 16th, 2016
Union pilots who fly products for Amazon.com Inc. are taking concerns about pay, working conditions and staffing shortages directly to online shoppers with a digital marketing blitz that suggests the internet retailer may struggle to deliver holiday gifts on time.
Bloomberg Technology reports that the Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224, is running advertisements on Facebook and Google this Friday targeting Amazon customers and suggesting Amazon may struggle to deliver holiday gifts on time.
If someone clicks on the ads, they are taken to to the website canamazondeliver.com
The website states;
"This holiday season, Amazon customers may want to think twice before ordering last-minute deliveries. What can you do to prevent this from happening? Give one star for Amazon Prime Air and tell Amazon executives to make sure its contracted pilots have a fair contract to ensure stability and that there are enough qualified pilots to get the job done."
The ad campaign could haunt Amazon even after a federal judge last month ordered striking pilots back to work on the second day of a walkout. Even a minor disruption this time of year can be costly.
Online spending in November and December will increase 11 percent this year to $91.6 billion, according to Adobe Systems Inc. Amazon has to increase capacity to grab as big a slice of this spending as possible.
The Facts according to the Airline Professionals Association
- Prime Air will operate with 40 planes leased from subsidiaries of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW) and Air Transport Services, Group, Inc. (ATSG). The new shipping service means that Amazon is using big shipping companies like FedEx and UPS less and less.
- Executives at the Prime Air contracted carriers (AAWW and ATSG) overcommitted their operations by taking on Amazon’s business. They took on the work despite known staffing problems, and the problems are getting worse.
- ABX Air a subsidiary of ATSG for example, is forcing pilots to continuously work during their time off due to company mismanagement. Pilots are stretched thin and regularly missing birthdays, anniversaries, funerals and other important family events. Pilot morale is low.
- Citing concerns about short-staffing and their ability to meet customer demand, 250 ATSG pilots went on strike in November. More than 75 flights were grounded, creating what Fox Business called a “rocky start” for Prime Air.
- Many pilots flying for the Prime Air contracted carriers are looking for new jobs. A recent survey of Atlas pilots showed that 65% of respondents are planning to leave for another airline.
- Recruiting and retaining pilots is extremely difficult because there is an industry-wide pilot shortage and other airlines are offering vastly better compensation and working conditions than Atlas and ATSG.
At issue are contract negotiations with about 1,650 teamster pilots and their employers - Air Transport Services Group Inc. and Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc. The companies both agreed this year to fly planes stuffed with Amazon inventory.
This is Amazon’s first holiday season since it unveiled Amazon Prime Air, a fleet of about 40 planes that reduce its dependence on FedEx Corp. and United Parcel Service Inc. The labor issues involving its contract partners signal the initiative is off to a rocky start.
The contracted airlines "don’t have enough pilots to meet the demands of Amazon because their experienced pilots are leaving for better jobs at other airlines," according to a statement on the website. "At this rate, there may not be enough pilots to deliver for Amazon around the holidays."
Pilot strikes in the U.S. are rare due to the Railway Labor Act, a 90-year-old federal law intended to prevent labor disputes from disrupting commerce. This latest attempt was short-lived, so the pilots involved are trying to pressure their employers by appealing directly to Amazon shoppers as they browse for holiday gifts.
A recent Amazon flight was grounded in Dallas for about 15 hours because the pilots were fatigued and there was no backup crew nearby, an indication of a pilot shortage, said Bob Kirchner, a captain with Atlas Air.
"People are being run ragged because of the pilot shortage," he said. "We want everyone to know and we want the public and Amazon to pressure these companies to sit down with us and do a fair negotiation."
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