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Credit: KUOW Photo/Carolyn Adolph

Pilots who fly for Amazon protest wages

Pilots who fly for Amazon say they are underpaid, and that’s causing a pilot shortage that is slowing down Amazon’s deliveries. They want the retail giant to use its power to get their wages back on track.

 “Our working conditions, our benefits, everything is substandard for what we do,” said Nancy Devine, one of protesting pilots.

The pilots don't work for Amazon directly, but rather, Atlas Air. Amazon is one of their biggest clients, and the pilots say the retail giant could throw its weight around and get their wages up to the industry standard.

The pilots also know Amazon could be opening its own cargo airline. The company is building a hub for cargo planes in Kentucky.

Robert Kirchner, a pilot for Atlas Air and member of the Teamsters, said he’d welcome that. But he said Amazon will suffer pilot shortages if the company doesn't pay pilots what they are worth. “If Amazon came in and said, 'You’re an asset to me,' just like an executive that they value or a tech person that they value, I think they would be wildly successful bringing this in-house,” he said.

Amazon shifted questions about the pilots protest to their employer. A message to Atlas Air was not returned in time.