LA VERGNE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Dozens of delivery drivers who worked for VETsmart Express, LLC — a third-party delivery company that contracts with Amazon — said they haven’t been paid in weeks and are now out of a job.
More than a dozen employees told News 2 they’ve been working full-time out of the Amazon warehouse in La Vergne, driving Amazon trucks and delivering several hundred Amazon packages a day.
“This is how I pay rent; this is how I eat; this is how all of us pay rent, eat, live our lives,” Chris Coleman explained while surrounded by a group of upset employees.
After receiving late checks, checks that were short, and eventually no checks at all, the workers said an owner of VETsmart told them on Wednesday, Sept. 13 that the company has dissolved.
“When the lawyers got involved, the bank account gets frozen,” a man — who identified himself as Demetrice Hall, an owner of VETsmart — told the group of upset employees in a video. He went on to say that Amazon will help resolve the issues with pay.
Even though the workers are all left without a job, they said what they really care about is getting paid for the work they have already done.
“We got kids, bills, families,” one of the employees told News 2. “We’re the breadwinners.”
Coleman, who has worked for the company for two years, said that last week’s check bounced, leaving more than 70 people without their pay. Now, some employees are reportedly overdrawn and accumulating additional fees.
“[We] feel played as a whole, frustrated, broke,” said Kentrell Green.
According to the employees, they have since contacted the Department of Labor and filed complaints on Amazon’s ethics line.
They showed News 2 a response they received on Friday, Sept. 15 from Amazon officials saying VETsmart is no longer part of their delivery service program and they consider the case closed. The workers were also directed to contact the company for further concerns, leaving them feeling defeated with nowhere to turn.
“We just want pay for the hours that we have worked. We understand that probably there’s no money in the payroll account to be paid from Demetrice Hall or VETsmart LLC, and at this point, we feel like our only option is to go through Amazon directly, as we performed work for Amazon, we delivered packages for them to their customers,” Coleman said. “We feel like Amazon should pay us, because that’s the right thing to do, and Amazon can then take their lawyers and go after Demetrice Hall with their legal department.”
News 2 left a voicemail for Hall, as well as the owner of operations for VETsmart, but we have yet to hear back.
Meanwhile, an Amazon spokesperson sent the following statement to News 2:
We understand why these drivers are frustrated, and while this is an issue between the Delivery Service Partner (DSP) and their employees, we’re following the situation closely.