Happy Black Friday to all. Seemingly every company on the planet is using Black SOMETHING to market their sales. Still, millions of people order things from Amazon, with Amazon warehouse employees working harder than ever during this peak business season. The BBC reports that one young woman working at an Amazon warehouse has do drop her child off at his father's for the entire Christmas season, because her long hours don't allow her to take care of her own child.
Jeff Bezos, one of the world's richest men, who resists unionization of his workers, says that Amazon pays industry-leading wages. In addition, the company says it has very good working conditions in its warehouses. In an Amazon workers' Facebook group, this doesn't ring true. Most of the workers in the social media group, some 20,000, aren't very happy with their working conditions or wages. A lot of them are constantly worried about being fired.
In a Staten Island warehouse, there have been recent protests by Amazon employees. One comment on the Facebook group site reads: "They will take names and six months from now none of those people protesting will be working there anymore."
Amazon told the BBC: "Fewer than five Amazon associates participated in the event outside the Staten Island fulfilment centre. It was obvious to the 4,500 full-time workforce that an outside organization used our building and the upcoming retail holidays to raise its own visibility and spread misinformation.
"The fact is that Amazon provides a safe, quality work environment in which associates are the heart and soul of the customer experience, and the notable lack of Amazon employee participation shows that associates know this to be true."
Get Back To Work
One employee on leave for a death in the family is not sure "how many deaths" are "legal" according to Amazon's rules for employee leave. She is afraid of losing her job. Another person in the Facebook group shared that they earned only $20 for working an extra day, whilst they had $198 deducted for just one sick day.
Another employee was injured in a car accident on her way to work. After being told by a doctor to take 2-4 days off to recover, her manager told her to start her shift 4 hours late, or she would fall into negative paid time off/unpaid time off. The worker couldn't lift anything heavy and was heavily medicated. Doing the sensible thing and going home, she alleges she was fired the very next day.
Working in a warehouse, even at an Amazon warehouse, is still extremely hard work for very low pay. Even if Amazon is paying their so-called "industry-leading wage" to its workers, maybe the entire industry should think about paying the workers a living wage, which would in and of itself cut down on sick days. It's human nature to use a system of paid/unpaid leave that doesn't take care of them in the first place.