In this file:


·         Amazon Seeks FAA Approval For Its Prime Air Drone

… Prime Air claims that its UAS "will achieve a level of safety equivalent to the level that complies with the requirements described below would otherwise achieve," according to its application, and therefore granting the exemption is in the public interest…


·         Amazon workers in Minnesota stage another protest

·         Amazon Under Fire Again as China Factory Hires Teen Interns

·         This Week In Amazon Vs. Walmart: The Battle For Consumers



Amazon Seeks FAA Approval For Its Prime Air Drone



via Benzinga - August 08, 2019


After the June unveiling of its "hybrid" design drone in Las Vegas,, Inc. is now asking for relief from federal regulations for commercial deliveries.


According to a petition published on August 8 by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Amazon Prime Air, the company's drone operating subsidiary, is requesting an exemption to conduct operations under what is known as a "Part 135" air carrier operating certificate for its MK27 unmanned aircraft system (UAS).


As the company stated in June, Prime Air plans to deliver packages of up to 5 pounds to customers within 30 minutes of placing an order. The MK27 can deliver within a range of 15 nautical miles (approximately 17 statute miles) to a variety of customer locations and designated drop-off points, which represents 80 to 85 percent of the products that Amazon Prime sells, according it application letter submitted by Sean Cassidy, Director of Safety and Regulatory for Amazon Prime Air.


"This year we demonstrated our commitment to our customers by announcing our expansion of one-day delivery with Amazon Prime," Cassidy said. "We anticipate Prime Air will be the same type of game-changing service for our customers."


Drone applications from big-player companies vying for customers demanding faster delivery are starting to accumulate at the FAA. Wing Aviation, a subsidiary of Google parent Alphabet Inc., was the first to receive approval from the agency for commercial drone operations, with initial plans in the Blacksburg-Roanoke area in southern Virginia.


"UPS Flight Forward," the drone unit of UPS Inc, announced it had recently applied for a Part 135 exemption as well.


Prime Air claims that its UAS "will achieve a level of safety equivalent to the level that complies with the requirements described below would otherwise achieve," according to its application, and therefore granting the exemption is in the public interest.


As with other commercial drone operators, Prime Air will fly...


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Amazon workers in Minnesota stage another protest

The demonstration by warehouse workers comes less than a month after a Prime Day protest in the Minneapolis area.


By Ben Fox Rubin, c|net

August 8, 2019


Amazon continues to struggle with worker discontent in the Minneapolis area.


A group of Amazon employees protested outside the Eagan, Minnesota, warehouse Thursday morning. The Eagan protest was to raise concerns about working conditions and a lack of parking at the location, which has resulted in Amazon towing workers cars off its lot, according to the Awood Center, a local advocacy organization.


Awood said later Thursday that Amazon agreed to the workers' requests after they walked out for over 2 hours. The company agreed to repay employees for towing their cars, provide more parking and recognize the upcoming Eid holiday for Muslim employees, Awood said in an email.


The protest comes less than a month after workers at a nearby Shakopee warehouse held a protest during Prime Day to push for safer conditions and a more manageable pace of work. Now the Minneapolis area has become a center for Amazon worker activism, aided by Awood, a local group that's been helping organize these protests. Other protests in the area were also held in December and March.


Amazon has often pointed to its $15 minimum wage, retraining programs and benefits package to show its efforts to help its workers. It also says it provides a safe working environment.


"We have been working to support the site, including providing onsite parking, offsite parking and shuttles. We're committed to listening to our teams, and will continue to find parking solutions to support the site," an Amazon spokesperson said in an emailed statement earlier Thursday.


Amazon worker protests tend to be rare in the US, where Amazon employees aren't unionized. Outside of the Minneapolis area, these protests haven't caught on...





Amazon Under Fire Again as China Factory Hires Teen Interns


    Foxconn dismissed two execs that oversaw the Hengyang plant

    Workers’ wages down sharply from prior year, bonus eliminated


By Matt Day and Debby Wu, Bloomberg

August 9, 2019


Foxconn Technology Group fired two executives at a Chinese plant that assembles devices for Inc., responding to a labor group’s allegations it slashed wages and flouted laws to help deal with rising U.S. tariffs.


It’s the second time Amazon and the Taiwanese company, which makes many of the world’s most popular gadgets, have come under scrutiny for the treatment of workers at the plant in the central city of Hengyang. China Labor Watch last year criticized the facility, which produces Echo speakers and Kindle e-readers for Amazon, for relying on temporary workers -- including high school interns -- and overtime beyond limits set by law. Foxconn said in a statement on Friday it had dismissed the plant’s chief and head of human resources, and punished managers responsible for overseeing use of interns.


“Amazon and Foxconn responded that they would make improvements to the factory’s working conditions,” China Labor Watch said. “However, CLW’s 2019 investigation found that Foxconn’s working conditions did not improve, and instead deteriorated.”


Wages, which the labor group deemed last year too low to support a “decent standard of living,” were slashed by another 16% in 2019, the New York-based group said on Thursday, citing documents it obtained.


That salary hasn’t been enough to draw sufficient full-time workers to the factory, which requires more than 7,000 people to operate 58 assembly lines during the peak production period that begins in July. To fill the gap, Foxconn relied heavily on interns as young as 16 from vocational schools, some of whom were forced to work overtime, according to China Labor Watch.


One student cited in the advocacy group’s account is a 17-year-old computing major at a vocational high school. She started working at the plant in July and says her teacher told her the internship would require 40 hour workweeks spent placing a protective film over hockey puck-shaped Echo Dot smart speakers as they came down the assembly line.


A few weeks ago, she was asked to start putting in overtime to total 60 hours a week. When she complained to the manager of her production line, her teacher warned her that turning down the overtime could jeopardize her graduation, China Labor Watch said.


Foxconn said...


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This Week In Amazon Vs. Walmart: The Battle For Consumers



August 9, 2019


Though Amazon and Walmart are in a constant race for the consumer’s whole paycheck, they mostly stay within their own lanes.  Though both move and counter-move against each other in clearly observable and trackable ways — the instances of the two firms directly pushing on or back against each other are comparatively rare.


This week, however, it seems such direct push-and-pushback is happening as both sides look to shore up the strength of their various marketplaces. It was a week with a fair amount of push back on the road, particularly on Amazon’s side of the ledger with choppy waters in both its delivery operations and ongoing expansion into healthcare.


But the week also saw pushes forward with Walmart ongoing its efforts to refine its eCommerce operations; and Amazon’s continuing experiments in outside-the-box thinking about bringing things to people — and people to its platform.



Big Expansions Of The Week:  Moving On Students And Moving Forward With Robots ...


Choppy Sailing Of The Week:  More PillPack Pushback And FedEx Says Good-Bye ...




Big Scuffle Of The Week: Playing Hardball For Marketplace Sellers ...


Impending Sign-Offs: Walmart Moves Closer To Unloading ModCloth ...


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