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Amazon Gig Workers Protest For Better Pay In Redondo Beach Amid Rising Gas Prices

Amazon, Uber Eats, Instacart and Doordash logos
Logos from Amazon, Uber Eats, Instacart and Doordash displayed on a smartphone on April 10, 2020.
(Olivier Douliery
AFP via Getty Images)
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Drivers for Amazon Flex held a protest this morning outside the company's warehouse in Redondo Beach, demanding higher pay amid a rise in gas prices.

The company, part of the corporate behemoth Amazon, allows gig workers to use their cars to deliver packages on their own schedule, much like Uber or Instacart.

On its website, the company offers a seemingly sweet and simple formula to attract new drivers: "Make deliveries. Get paid, enjoy life, repeat."

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Driver Katherine Cote said that's not possible on her wages, especially while paying for gas out-of-pocket.

"That gas has doubled right now. That's too heavy, because we drive a lot, so that's expensive," Cote said. "We can't drive anymore with Amazon if they don't help with the gas right now."

The single mother of two has been driving for Amazon for two years and said she needs more support from the company.

"I don't have savings because I buy everything, [even my own] gas," she said. "So I'd say right now I don't win the normal pay [like] normal employees in California."

In a statement, the company said its drivers "earn among the best in the industry at over $26 per hour on average" and that the company has and will continue to make changes to "ease some of the financial challenges."

The campaign is organized by the Mobile Workers Alliance, a group backed by the Service Employees International Union. SEIU is also behind workers’ rights efforts for Uber drivers.

In November 2020, California voters approved Proposition 22, which allowed Uber and Lyft and other gig workers to remain as independent contractors instead of becoming employees. The ride-sharing tech giants spent around $200 million persuading voters to support their gig-worker economy.

Amazon, for its part, has come under pressure from regulators, labor organizers and workers in the past few years over its labor practices. Just yesterday, workers at three delivery stations staged walkouts over break times and low wages, and the company has been accused of violating labor laws after union supporters were arrested in Alabama. In September, California became the first state to pass a law protecting workers' break time, warning Amazon against penalizing workers who fail to meet specific quotas when they take advantage of legally protected rest breaks.

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