Though, wouldn't be the first time Amazon was accused of such working practices.
Amazon doesn't employ these guys. All it does is contract for the airlines to fly routes. Either the airlines can staff the jets or they can't.
Atlas, whose pilot was quoted as complaining about how tired he is, flies exactly ONE aircraft for Amazon. One. Un. Uno. Yi. Ichi.
Out of a current fleet of approximately 57 aircraft. So it's stupid already.
The ABX Air situation is a little different, and it's complicated. The ABX pilots are an extremely-competent, high-airmanship, very-proud group with a long history of operational excellence and exceptional stick-and-rudder flying skills
. They now fly 5 aircraft for Amazon, and 25 or so for DHL and a couple of small customers. Their pilots are operating under a concessionary contract that gives them a moderate minimum monthly paycheck. From the affidavits in the recent legal action: ABX pilots get paid a minimum of 60-something hours of flying a month, but the most ABX ever constructs in its "lines" for bid is 40-something. In order for the pilots to have the chance to make more than the minimum, a certain amount of flying was always put in "open time", for pilots to pick up for extra pay. Even picking up open time, most pilots never even got to the minimum hours they were paid for in their contract, although all open time hours were in addition to the minimum and paid at a premium rate. Open time is desirable, and is bid in seniority order. In years past, virtually all the open time was picked up by pilots voluntarily for extra pay. The company said that many pilots wanted there to be open time so the ones that wanted to could make more money if they wanted to, and indeed many pilots publicly have bragged about how much money they were making. Since almost all the open time was voluntarily bid, if someone was going to pick up extra hours, he could plan so that he did not miss a kid's play or soccer game or birthday, he would be able to plan around it. And since the pilots didn't do more than about 60-ish hours a month of flying, even with open time, they were well under the FAA maximum of 100 hours. At some point, apparently to put pressure on the company for something, whether it be to finalize a CBA, raise their pay scale, shut down the parent company's other carrier (the claims are disputed), the pilots started to stop bidding for open flying. This invoked a provision of the CBA which allowed the company to assign open flying involuntarily, in return for extremely-high rates of pay and an extra day off for each assignment. Eventually, apparently as a collective action, the pilots, to a man, stopped biding for open time, apparently to force the company to pay everyone
the "emergency" pay rate plus extra days off. They knew the higher pay rates would hurt, and the accumulated vacation days would make scheduling challenging. This also impinged on the folks who traditionally did NOT bid open time, and made it impossible for those pilots also to schedule around things, leading to a lot of complaints. But the zeroing-out of open time flying by the pilot group has the hallmarks of a voluntary, collective action, and its predictable result was that people who didn't want to fly still had to. Meanwhile, pilots were bragging about making north of $350,000 per year. The company responded by hiring aggressively, and it has had no difficulty finding qualified pilots, who are going through training classes and getting out on the line. It doesn't take that many pilots to add 5 or 6 planes to the mix. They were averaging about 10 pilots per plane, as a rough number, so 4 classes of a dozen guys each and the "problem" is fixed. The sole basis of the union's strike was over how far in advance they could schedule their extra day off, and by what method; the other 2 similarly-seemingly-resolvable issues were basically already resolved, the Court found. The union's PR was all about being overworked and missing kids' soccer games and such, but the actual legal grievance was the D6 days. So that's the playing field.
In sum, this appears to be about leverage and strategy that's much bigger-picture stuff than what the union is saying publicly. It is employing very-aggressive, really last-ditch, self-harming strategies to accomplish whatever it is that it is trying to accomplish. I hope that whatever they hope to accomplish with these tactics is worth it in the end.