Amazon Accused Of Sweatshop Conditions, Terrible Work Environment - HotHardware
Amazon Accused Of Sweatshop Conditions, Terrible Work Environment

Amazon Accused Of Sweatshop Conditions, Terrible Work Environment

Amazon is one of the major corporate success stories of the dot-com era and has played a significant part in driving the consumption of digital content. If certain allegations are true, it's also guilty of treating its workers quite poorly.

Multiple warehouse employees working in Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, have complained of soaring temperatures, mandatory overtime, and a deaf ear on the part of the corporation.



Local paper The Morning Call conducted its own investigation, interviewing 20 current and former employees of the distributor over the past two months. Workers were required to provide proof of employment via pay stubs or tax forms. The paper writes:
Only one of the employees interviewed described it as a good place to work.

Workers said they were forced to endure brutal heat inside the sprawling warehouse and were pushed to work at a pace many could not sustain. Employees were frequently reprimanded regarding their productivity and threatened with termination, workers said.

The consequences of not meeting work expectations were regularly on display, as employees lost their jobs and got escorted out of the warehouse.During summer heat waves, Amazon arranged to have paramedics parked in ambulances outside, ready to treat any workers who dehydrated or suffered other forms of heat stress. Those who couldn't quickly cool off and return to work were sent home or taken out in stretchers and wheelchairs and transported to area hospitals. And new applicants were ready to begin work at any time.

An emergency room doctor in June called federal regulators to report an "unsafe environment" after he treated several Amazon warehouse workers for heat-related problems. The doctor's report was echoed by warehouse workers who also complained to regulators, including a security guard who reported seeing pregnant employees suffering in the heat.
Temporary employees were hired with the hope of being  brought on full-time, but very few people appear to have transitioned to full-time jobs with Amazon in this way. Instead, the temps reported being pushed harder than other groups, with a significant number of people leaving the jobs due to injury or exhaustion. High turnover isn't an issue--Amazon only pays $11-$12/hour, but that's enough to entice workers in the heart of the Rust Belt. Amazon is scarcely the first company to exploit temporary labor as a means of keeping costs down, but the current economic conditions mean people are willing to put up with more if it means a steady paycheck--even if it only lasts a few months.

"They can get away with it because most workers will take whatever they can get with jobs few and far between," said Catherine Ruckelshaus, legal co-director of the National Employment Law Project, told The Morning Call. "The temp worker is less likely to complain about it and less likely to push for their labor rights because they feel like they don't have much pull or sway with the worksite employer."
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Its unfortunate that these have such poor conditions. On the other hand for those unable to get steady full time work, something is certianly better than nothing.

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I'd expect this from amazon anyway, so nothing is a surprise.Wink Although this year there was hotter than normal conditions anyway & that is not a surprise either.Wink The low pay means maybe that this company will keep its headquarters & main distribution outlets in the U.S.A. instead of going overseas.Wink That latter part of the last sentence is what I mainly support, but it is bad luck that it has to be that way. I just think that a company in the U.S. is better than to go overseas to a third world country & that means that there will be still some jobs for the normal U.S. citizen to have within the U.S.Wink This does not mean that I support either slave babor or the like or even sub-conditions to work in. As for Amazon, I do not purchase much through them anyway, I prefer to buy mainly from the local shopfront store owners instead.Wink Big Smile

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Are there not laws in place to protect these workers??? And what does unreasonable heat mean? 95.. 110... I worked in an over 100 degree building myself for most of the summer because the AC was "Broken" I am not saying that Amazon is right for doing this type of thing but I am not surprised that they are exploiting temp workers pretty much everyone is doing that not to have to pay the soaring costs of healthcare etc.

@gazd1 Amazon will never move their warehouses and those workers overseas it would be far to costly to ship if they did.

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Is this 100% true? That's really sad. I thought Amazon was one of the most honest companies.

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Worked there for a while and quit.. SDF6 was forced to shut down a couple of times last summer due to the heat. Everything in the previous half dozen or so posts is absolutely true. People are constantly being "written-up" for low performance. Yet, when asked, the Amazon "blue badges" never will give an answer as to how the target rates are calculated. The standard answer is "I'll have to get back to you". Of course they never do.

The IT systems used for labor tracking are an obscene joke. One day I worked 10 hours, but the system had me logged in for 20. (Hello low productivity.) On another day when I also worked 10 (and was logged into my scanning gun for close to 10 hours) the system said less than 4 hours.

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