As reported by Bloomberg, Amazon is encouraging its delivery partners to publicly disclose that they do not screen candidates for marijuana usage in order to solve the plaguing issue of driver shortage.
Amazon is urging its mom-and-pops delivery partners who run the iconic blue Amazon vans — to make it clear that they do not conduct drug tests on job applicants.
In its communication, Amazon claims that doing so may increase the number of job applications by more than 400%; however, they don’t elaborate on how that figure could be reached.
In contrast, the company claims that testing for marijuana reduces the pool of potential employees by as much as 30%.
Although a few delivery partners followed the advice, claiming that marijuana screening was the primary cause of driver shortfall, others are opting to continue screening candidates, stressing on insurance and liability concerns. They’re also concerned that eliminating drug testing may encourage some drivers to get high before heading out on a trip.
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According to a delivery partner that ceased screening candidates at Amazon’s request, marijuana was by far the most common cause for drug test failure. More drivers clear the drug test now that she’s just checking for substances like opioids and amphetamines.
Because Amazon discourages partners from speaking publicly, one business owner told Bloomberg on conditions of anonymity, “If one of my drivers wrecks and kills someone and tests positive for marijuana, that’s my issue, not Amazon’s.”
Amazon’s advise on how to deal with the issue of scarcity of drivers is in line with its company rules on marijuana usage, as well as its support for legalizing marijuana.
Apart from jobs regulated by the Department of Transportation, Amazon initially stated in June that it will no longer test workers for marijuana use since testing has unfairly impacted people of color. It is now encouraging other businesses to follow suit.
In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson stated that, suppose a delivery associate is intoxicated on job and tests positive after an accident or due to suspicion of a crime, that individual would no longer be allowed to provide services for Amazon.
This move from Amazon doesn’t surprise many as employers are continuing to provide recruiting incentives, such as salary increases, college scholarships, and even gifts, in the post-COVID-19 job market.
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School bus firms, which pay an hourly rate of $20 and above, often outbid Amazon delivery contractors. And driving school buses also allows drivers to be home for supper and not extend their work hours, unlike at Amazon.
To meet pace with the consumer demands , Amazon contract drivers usually earn $17 an hour and are expected to work late into the night.
Among the 100 delivery company owners who met in Las Vegas this week to discuss ways to help their businesses flourish, hiring and attracting drivers was a major issue. They’re trying to distinguish themselves in the highly competitive labor market as the big Christmas shopping season approaches.