Amazon Warehouses and Exploitation

Amazon Warehouses and Exploitation

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Thomson Reuters reporters talked to more than a dozen former workers in Amazon warehouses in Mexico. They found that many had to work overtime beyond legal limits while others were let go without severance, forced to resign, or laid off after falling ill with COVID-19. For instance, one worker contracted COVID-19 in May last year and took four months off work to recover. After returning in September, she felt weak and asked if she could do a less strenuous job, such as packing items instead of picking them off the shelves. She was told by outsourcing agency DCH to either keep picking or find other work, and they ultimately pressured her into resigning, she said. Some workers said they were required to sign blank resignation papers by the recruitment agencies before starting work.

Most recently, New York Times reported similar workers' exploitation cases in Amazon warehouses in New York: "Amazon's model for managing people — heavily reliant on metrics, apps, and chatbots — was uneven and strained even before the coronavirus arrived, with employees often having to act as their own caseworkers, interviews, and records show. Amid the pandemic, Amazon's system burned through workers, resulted in inadvertent firings and stalled benefits, and impeded communication, casting a shadow over a business success story for the ages".  

We know the lack of concern for the human cost to our supply chains is vast. In 2017 two workers died at different Amazon warehouses in Pennsylvania and Indiana. In 2019, we saw the same in Ohio and in May this year in Alabama.  But it is not only about Amazon, and it dates back decades in various US industries, including meatpacking, agriculture, and garment factories.

Learn more about how it is allowed to happen and what we should do to change the systems!