September 29, 2015
The on-demand economy strikes again! This morning, Amazon announced the launch of Amazon Flex, a new service that takes on the Uber model and applies it to Amazon’s delivery services. Under Amazon Flex, people can earn between $18 and $25 an hour working part-time for Amazon, delivering Amazon Prime Now packages to strangers they don’t know.
Amazon Flex launches in Seattle starting today, and is expected to expand to more cities soon after (the Amazon Flex page lists NYC, Baltimore, Miami, Dallas, Austin, Chicago, Indianapolis, Atlanta, and Portland). To qualify, those wanting to make the deliveries have to provide their own car, pass a background check, and own an Android phone (yes – this is, in fact, one of the requirements; this makes sense, though, considering Amazon’s devices run Android OS).
While the move makes sense for Amazon – especially with the upcoming holiday season that often places a heavy demand on the online goods giant – it’s weird timing. The on-demand economy has come under heavy scrutiny, with a public push to treat on-demand workers like employees – this is most notable in the class-action suit against Uber, but has also gained outcry from U.S. Presidential hopefuls like Hillary Clinton.
It’s not yet certain whether Amazon Flex will offer these part-time workers with any sort of benefits outside compensation, but we’ll soon find out as Android users sign up to deliver their neighbors’ packages.
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