Amazon’s $14.2 Million Move Against Unionization Efforts, Etsy’s All-Time High Revenue, and More News

Hey there folks! Are you ready for this week’s fresh batch of eCommerce news? This week we’ve got some very interesting pieces to go through, so make sure you’ve caught up with last week’s news, before you dive in to this one. So grab your coffee, tea or something stronger if that’s your jam and let’s get into it.

Today’s news is 1393  words and takes 5 ½  minutes to read.

Amazon’s $14.2 Million Move Against Unionization Efforts

In 2022, Amazon engaged at least two union-busting consulting firms to deter its drivers from joining the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, as revealed by reports filed to the Department of Labor and acquired by Motherboard. This move is particularly intriguing given Amazon’s stance that its drivers are employees of third-party companies, not direct employees of Amazon. 

Motherboard’s examination of these reports shows that Amazon spent over $14.2 million on anti-union consulting during the year. Among the consultants, Optimal Employee Relations and Action Resources specifically identified “drivers” as their focus group. Fernando Rivera, associated with these firms, also submitted a report that highlighted “drivers” and “teamsters” as the subjects of union-related matters.


Further illuminating Amazon’s stance on unionizing efforts, the reports illustrate Amazon’s intent to suppress union movements among delivery drivers who are technically third-party employees. The Teamsters contend that Amazon acts as a joint employer for these drivers, using the contractor label as a way to sidestep accountability. Randy Korgan, director of the Teamsters’ Amazon Division, is questioning Amazon’s involvement in anti-union efforts, and if these drivers truly fall outside of Amazon’s direct control. 

The reports, however, didn’t specify particular Amazon sites. But in April, drivers from an Amazon Delivery Service Partner (DSP) in Palmdale, California, joined the Teamsters, marking a significant unionizing move within Amazon’s contractor network. Nevertheless, Amazon declined to negotiate with the Teamsters, maintaining that these drivers were solely employees of the DSP and not Amazon.

What does it mean for eCommerce sellers?

For e-commerce sellers, Amazon’s efforts to prevent its drivers from unionizing have several implications:

  • If Amazon’s drivers successfully unionize in the future, it may affect the speed and efficiency of Amazon’s delivery system. Unionized workers might negotiate for better working conditions, fewer working hours, or more breaks, potentially impacting delivery times. E-commerce sellers reliant on Amazon’s fast delivery promises might need to recalibrate their expectations and communicate potential delays to their customers.
  • Unionization typically leads to better wages and benefits for workers. If Amazon’s operational costs increase due to drivers’ unionization, these costs might pass onto third-party sellers in the form of higher fees or charges. 
  • The public’s view of Amazon, given its stance on unionization, might influence how consumers perceive sellers associated with the platform. 

What are your thoughts on Amazon’s lack of transparency? Is it time to reconsider where you can sell your products as an eCommerce seller? If so, check out our article on Shopify vs. Amazon: Which is Right for You?

Big Retailer News

Etsy’s All-Time High Revenue

Etsy, the renowned e-commerce platform for crafts and homemade goods, celebrated a record second quarter with almost 91 million active buyers. The platform is boasting $629 million in revenue, which surpassed the expected $619 million consensus estimates. 

However, a weak forecast for the third quarter saw its stock dip by over 13%. CEO Josh Silverman attributed the company’s success during the pandemic, in part, to the surge in face mask sales, with revenues tripling in 2020. Despite challenges post-pandemic, Silverman expressed optimism about the platform’s future. Etsy is encouraging seller success, by providing good pricing and promotional tools.

What does it mean for eCommerce sellers?

eCommerce sellers should note:

  • Despite global economic fluctuations, there remains a significant demand for unique, handcrafted, and customized items. This means sellers offering such products can continue to see growth opportunities.
  • Etsy’s rapid growth during the pandemic, driven largely by face mask sales, emphasizes the importance for sellers to diversify product lines and quickly adapt to changing market demands.
  • With higher-income households spending more on Etsy, sellers might consider targeting or tailoring their products, marketing, and pricing strategies towards this demographic for better profitability.

Check out our Etsy Fee Calculator and calculate all your seller costs for free.

USPS Rates Increase

Everyone is anticipating the USPS to declare its third postal rate increase of 2023. Last year, online sellers felt the weight significantly, facing additional costs per package, especially during the holidays and return season. By the time these “temporary” rates concluded in January, new annual rate hikes were already implemented.

This pattern of increasing rates has been challenging for online sellers, especially after the announcement of another rate increase just a month ago. Despite the USPS promoting its wide reach and highlighting the avoidance of common surcharges, the recurring holiday surcharges, originally attributed to pandemic-induced expenses, have become an unwelcome norm for e-commerce merchants.

For eCommerce sellers

For e-commerce sellers, the USPS’s anticipated third postal rate increase of 2023, coupled with the continuation of the holiday surcharge, means escalating shipping costs. These increases can significantly affect profit margins, especially for smaller sellers who rely heavily on USPS for their shipping needs. 

Sellers will have to make tough decisions, either absorbing these increased costs, which may impact their profitability, or passing them on to consumers in the form of higher shipping fees or product prices. The latter option might deter some customers. 

MORE: International Shipping Explained

Also in the News

International Retailer News

‘Barbiecore’ Taking Over the Chinese Market

Within days of its release, the film “Barbie” has not only made significant strides at the global box office, hitting $1 billion, but it has also ignited a fashion frenzy around the world. 

The term “Barbiecore” saw a staggering surge in Google searches, increasing by 7,900% within a week of the film’s release. This trend isn’t limited to western countries where Barbie is a staple. In China, where Barbie hasn’t traditionally been a dominant cultural figure, the movie has sparked immense interest. 

On the Chinese social platform, Xiaohongshu, millions of users are engaging with the trend, with many sharing photos of themselves donned in pink Barbie-inspired outfits to watch the movie.

Data from China’s online retail giant, Taobao, indicates that the movie has ushered in a wave of Barbie-inspired fashion. Searches for “Barbiecore outfits” skyrocketed by over 1,100%. More than that, there’s been an 800% jump in searches for official co-branded Barbie products. 

Chinese merchants have innovated on the Barbiecore style, leading to a surge in demand for pink traditional cheongsams. The outfit is showcasing a blend of Barbie aesthetics with traditional Chinese fashion.

For eCommerce sellers

E-commerce sellers should quickly adapt to trending cultural phenomena like “Barbiecore”. By offering products aligned with the trend, whether it’s clothing, accessories, or even home decor, sellers can capitalize on the surge in demand. The ability to swiftly recognize and act on such trends can position a seller favorably in a competitive market. Check out our article on ‘Barbiecore’ for more information.

Alibaba Cloud’s Advanced Language Models

Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing division of the Chinese tech giant Alibaba Group, has unveiled its advanced large language models, Qwen-7B and Qwen-7B-Chat. 

These models are now accessible for both commercial use and research, positioning Alibaba as a significant player in the field, comparable to tech behemoths like Meta. This move also presents competition for OpenAI, the creator of the popular ChatGPT model. 

Alibaba’s primary offering, Tongyi Qianwen, is the backbone of their new chatbot service. Translating to “seeking truth by asking a thousand questions” in Chinese, this AI tool is capable of generating tailored stories for children, drafting business pitches, and producing witty slogans and jokes.

The release of Qwen-7B, is a strategic move by Alibaba. By open-sourcing these models, Alibaba avoids immediate licensing revenues but seeks to attract a broader user base to its AI and cloud computing services. It’s underscoring the strategic importance of AI expansion in Asia. 

Alibaba’s aim is to offer Tongyi Qianwen to its cloud customers and developers, enabling them to integrate advanced AI capabilities seamlessly into their applications. The move is highlighting the firm’s commitment to making AI integration efficient and affordable.

And what are your thoughts on this matter? Feel free to leave a comment down below.

Also in the News

  • Cryptocurrency funds in global conflicts. SCMP
  • Oatly collaboration with Amazon. Retail Times.


For everyone 

Various dates: Amazon advertising’s global webinar program continues with 20+ webinars scheduled, covering Prime Day Preparation, Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, reporting, optimization, and other tips. Amazon.

For US sellers

August 17: The 15 Minute Breakdown. Tinuiti.

For UK sellers

Various dates: Amazon advertising’s global webinar program continues with 20+ webinars scheduled, covering Prime Day Preparation, Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands, reporting, optimization, and other tips. Amazon.


Dominika Kaminska

Dominika Kaminska

Amazing content you need, amazing content we deliver. Whether you need marketing, eCommerce, or news digest related to eCommerce, Dominika is here to guide you through it all. You will also find her in the top tips section, giving only top-notch advice.

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