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Amazon's rush to deliver packages on time makes many residential streets unsafe

Amazon's rush to deliver packages on time makes many residential streets unsafe
A worker tapes a box while packing items on Cyber Monday at the Amazon Fulfillment Center in San Bernardino. (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The article addresses many issues regarding classifying Amazon's delivery drivers as employees or contractors, but the bigger issue is barely addressed with a sentence that refers to drivers "who speed around major cities." ("Amazon drivers say they are pushed to the limit as holiday deliveries reach a frenzy," Dec. 16)

The "army of people" speeding through our residential streets to make their deliveries within their allotted time pose serious safety problems. Los Angeles traffic makes it virtually impossible for the drivers to meet their deadlines.

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Every day I see delivery trucks speeding 40 mph down narrow streets with cars on both sides. Who is responsible for reducing the likelihood of an accident?

Barbara Wilson, Los Angeles

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To the editor: The Times' detailed reporting on the plight of drivers for Amazon reinforces a familiar lesson about the human costs of unregulated capitalism. As workers are commodified, they become no different than machines, simply parts of the production process, factors to be adjusted (sped up, deprived of food and rest) according to the demands of the "free market" (or more accurately, the unrestrained greed of their corporate masters).

When Karl Marx first pointed out this ethical consequence of capitalism more than 150 years ago, most industrial workers labored 12 hours or longer in dank, windowless factories, operating often dangerous machinery with little sleep and less food. By comparison, Amazon drivers might seem privileged workers offered the "opportunity" to be their own bosses and set their own hours.

But as The Times' report clearly shows, today's commodified workers suffer much as their predecessors did in Marx's day.

Leigh Clark, Granada Hills

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