12 votes

The Deadly Race: How Amazon Hooked America on Fast Delivery While Avoiding Responsibility for Crashes

4 comments

  1. NaraVara
    Link
    A narrative seems to be crystalizing about the big tech monopolists about how their biggest innovations seem to be finding ways to extract all the profitable parts of a workflow or system while...

    A narrative seems to be crystalizing about the big tech monopolists about how their biggest innovations seem to be finding ways to extract all the profitable parts of a workflow or system while leaving others holding the bag for the liabilities and costs. In this case, it's direct financial costs and human costs, but we've seen the social/political costs as well with social media.

    Maybe they've always been like this, but this definitely seems to be a trend ever since the "Uber, but for ___" wave of companies started taking off. Even previously established companies suddenly started to seem a lot more predatory and a lot less conscience driven. When they were scrappy underdogs trying to wrest the future from the hands of the old establishment these companies were much easier to like, but now that they've consolidated into monopolies under a political zeitgeist that's averse to enforcing anything resembling anti-trust law they've all become truly awful.

    8 votes
  2. Deimos
    (edited )
    Link
    Interesting - Buzzfeed News published a long article about the same topic last week: Amazon’s Next-Day Delivery Has Brought Chaos And Carnage To America’s Streets — But The World’s Biggest...

    Interesting - Buzzfeed News published a long article about the same topic last week: Amazon’s Next-Day Delivery Has Brought Chaos And Carnage To America’s Streets — But The World’s Biggest Retailer Has A System To Escape The Blame.

    I haven't read either yet, but they seem to cover very similar topics/cases while not being actually attached to each other. I wonder how both of these large investigations seem to have happened in parallel.

    6 votes
  3. patience_limited
    Link
    IANAL, but back in the day when I did paralegal work, we had more than a few construction injury cases that involved the "joint employer" doctrine. For large construction projects - factory or...

    IANAL, but back in the day when I did paralegal work, we had more than a few construction injury cases that involved the "joint employer" doctrine.

    For large construction projects - factory or skyscraper scale - you typically have a very big company (e.g. Halliburton, Kerr-McGee, etc.) which serves as the general contractor. They plan all of the work, dictate how it's to be performed, when, by whom, and with what tools and materials. They'll design the building and manage the project, often providing tools, safety equipment and training, and supplying the inspectors for all aspects of the jobsite. Then they bring on subcontractor companies to perform the heavy labor.

    The legal fun begins when a subcontractor's employee or member of the public is injured. Nearly every subcontract has a "hold harmless" clause, exactly like what Amazon has done, which demands that the tiny subcontractor bear responsibility for any bad outcomes, despite the facts that big General Contractor Co. controls nearly everything, has ample resources and knowledge to assure safe work, and intervenes constantly.

    For a number of years, it was difficult, but by no means impossible, to prove that General Contractor Co. was a joint employer, and would bear responsibility for the aspects of the work it controlled. But in the U.S., at least, there was a concerted lobbying effort to constrain broad interpretation of joint employment.

    In 2015 and 2016, the Obama Administration's Department of Labor issued guidelines explicitly directing broad interpretation of the joint employer doctrine, which immediately elicited howls of disapproval from companies like Uber, Amazon, and the like, which had been blithely outsourcing their risks. Enter the Trump Administration, which has again made it nearly impossible to prove joint employment.

    4 votes