As the latest part of Amazon’s campaign against UPS, FedEx, and USPS, the company has been staffing up its own internal shipping service, a spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider today.
The job listings for “Seasonal Delivery Associates” began appearing a few weeks back, promising between $15.50 and $17.25 an hour for “shifts up to 12 hours long,” which involve not only package delivery, but potentially “delivery station activities including sortation and general tasks.” Amazon relies on seasonal employees who staff up the company’s warehouses work around the winter holidays, though in-house delivery employees represent a new position this year.
“Seasonal employees have long been utilized to supplement capacity during peak shopping periods,” Amazon wrote in a statement to Gizmodo, “This holiday, thousands of full-time, seasonal Delivery Associates will deliver to customers during the busy retail shopping season.”
Previously, much of the e-commerce giant’s “last mile” shipping—the final leg of a package’s journey from a smaller warehouse to a customer—was handled by crowdsourced contractor labor through Amazon’s Flex program, local third-party courier companies acting as Amazon Delivery Service Partners, or rivals like UPS and the U.S. Postal service.
Amazon reached out to Gizmodo to push back against Business Insider’s description of this new position as representative of a new, full-fledged delivery service. Whereas seasonal warehouse workers can be given the option to “convert” to full-time, a spokesperson would not comment on if these delivery positions would exist after the holidays, noting the drivers would be encouraged to apply for similar roles within Delivery Partner companies, or at other jobs within Amazon itself. We’ll have a better sense of what will happen to these jobs by January, when seasonal roles typically wind down.
Confirmation that Amazon will (at least briefly) employ its own delivery fleet comes not long after the company decided to open up free shipping on all orders, beginning today, as the company fights to capture holiday dollars from retail rivals Walmart and Target, as well as rebound from disappointing third-quarter earnings.
An earlier version of this post claimed the vehicles used by Seasonal Delivery Associates would be owned by Amazon. A spokesperson later clarified that the company is merely leasing them.