Union pilots who fly products for Amazon.com are taking concerns about pay, working conditions and staffing shortages directly to online shoppers with a digital marketing campaign that suggests the e-tailer may struggle to deliver holiday gifts on time. The union began running advertisements on Facebook and Google last week, targeting Amazon customers. If clicked on, the ads send people to the website “Can Amazon Deliver?”, which is being paid for by the Airline Professionals Association, Teamsters Local 1224. The site outlines alleged staffing issues at two cargo airlines from which Amazon leases planes, and warns that these airlines overcommitted their operations by taking on Amazon’s business this year. This is leading to staffing problems and, ultimately, to delayed deliveries.
Total Retail’s Take: This is Amazon’s first holiday season since it unveiled Amazon Prime Air, a fleet of 40 planes that reduce its dependence on FedEx and UPS. However, labor issues involving its contract partners have meant a rocky start to the program. Earlier this month, for example, pilots for one of the contracted airlines, ABX Air, were forced back to work by a judge after they walked off the job over understaffing issues. The ad campaign could haunt Amazon even more. After all, even a minor disruption this time of year can be costly. Amazon has to increase capacity to grab as big a slice of holiday spending as possible.