Amazon Prime Day Is a Nightmare for Amazon Workers
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And these are the company’s own records. Amazon, like many companies, is prone to keeping injuries off the books so as to avoid scrutiny from OSHA or journalists like Evans, as well as to minimize workers’ comp claims. Indeed, investigators have found that AmCare, Amazon’s on-site clinics, often send injured workers back to work instead of referring them to another doctor for in-depth medical attention. Medical providers told Evans they were discouraged from giving Amazon workers treatment that would lead to their injuries being on the books.
While many of these are repetitive stress injuries or strains, the type of hazard that often accompanies warehousing work, there are other threats, too, borne of Amazon’s commitment to wringing as much productivity out of workers as humanly possible, regardless of circumstances. For instance, Evans writes of a gas leak in the Eastvale warehouse: managers wouldn’t slow the pace “even though [workers] were dizzy and vomiting,” workers told him. “They were told that they’d have to use personal time off if they wanted to leave.”
He documents a particularly horrifying incident in which fifty-five-year-old Phillip Lee Terry, a maintenance worker, was crushed to death by a forklift at an Indiana warehouse. Indiana OSHA sent an investigator, who found it was Amazon’s fault, and, at first, the agency issued four citations, a fine of $28,000. But then the state’s OSHA director called Amazon and explained to the company how it could shift the blame. There were political considerations: the state was hoping to be selected as the location for Amazon’s HQ2 site. So, a year after Terry’s death, the state deleted the citations.
These problems are only getting worse. While Amazon touts figures for how much money it spends on safety practices — the company is currently on a PR push about its new wellness program, which has been met with widespread ridicule online and indifference or disdain by every warehouse worker with whom I’ve spoken — Evans’s reporting found that injury rates are only going up. Robotized warehouses continue leading the pack, as robots mean a quicker pace of work, as well as more isolated, repetitive motions. Meanwhile, a recent report by the Strategic Organizing Center — published in time for Prime Day 2021 — finds that Amazon workers are not only injured more frequently than in non-Amazon warehouses, they also endure more serious injuries. Amazon does advise workers on how to safely move their bodies and handle equipment, but workers characterize these instructions as a joke. It’s understood they must violate the rules to keep up with the rate, even if Amazon makes them sign paperwork saying they’ll follow the guidelines. The reality of these working conditions is better suggested by Amazon telling workers to think of themselves as “industrial athletes” (the company claims the pamphlet that used this phrase was mistakenly distributed, though workers say it was available on-site for months, so that’s unlikely).
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
June 23, 2021 at 12:51 PM #430984jwirrParticipant
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Our home got a taste of what the workers go through when one of the people here ordered Propel bottled water. The huge boxes are so heavy none of us can carry them. I talked with one of the delivery men yesterday and said “what are they ordering in these boxes?”. My guess that OSHA would not approve the weight level for any of us but Amazon does not listen to anyone?
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