The Pilots Delivering Your Amazon Packages Are Ready to Strike

ATI’s pilots are taking a much less antagonistic tone in hopes of bringing Amazon to the negotiating desk. “What we don’t want to do is affect our customers,” says Sterling. “We’ve done a lot to protect our obsession with Amazon.” However, he says the intransigence of ATSG’s administration has left the pilots with no selection however to name a strike.

“This side of Amazon’s network is the most vulnerable to labor strikes,” says Marc Wulfraat, president of logistics consultancy MWPVL. If drivers or warehouse staff strike, the corporate can shift the movement of merchandise and packages to certainly one of its many close by warehouses, however airports are fewer in quantity and farther aside.

Amazon may compensate for a walkout at ATI by shifting quantity to different air carriers below the Amazon Air umbrella, however provided that they’ve the capability to deal with the inflow at all the airports. It may additionally transport a few of its packages by truck as an alternative, which it did in the course of the transient 2016 strike. However, this might end in slower delivery occasions and diminished service, says Wulfraat, which flies within the face of Amazon’s mantra of buyer obsession.

Pilots even have the benefit of being typically in a powerful place throughout the airline trade. “It’s still a very, very hot job market” for pilots, says Geoff Murray, a companion who works on aerospace at administration consultancy Oliver Wyman. Plummeting demand for passenger pilots in the course of the pandemic despatched many into early retirement, worsening an current pilot scarcity that obtained extra acute because the trade bounced again. Wages have soared. Oliver Wyman estimates that captains’ pay on the US mainline carriers, similar to Delta and UPS, has elevated 46 % since 2020, whereas regional carriers have elevated pay by 86 %.

Pilot Drew Patterson got here to ATI in 2021, attracted by the work-life steadiness the airline supplied, however because the provider misplaced pilots, he has seen his workload creep up and his schedule grow to be extra unpredictable. With fewer crews to function the identical variety of flights, “everybody else’s schedule gets compressed,” he says. “Sometimes you can be away from home for a long time.”

Long-term, he thinks Amazon’s continued progress ought to be a superb factor for ATI and its workers, so he’s been prepared to stay it out. But he’s not so certain all of his colleagues will really feel the identical about present situations on the firm.

“All of this has a real house-of-cards feeling to it,” says Sterling. “We just can’t sustain what we’re doing.”