Amazon Workers Go on Strike


Alora Foote, Contributor

The world-wide shipping company Amazon has been brought into the spotlight once again, being accused of the ‘worker force law’ being neglected. “The Daily Beast recently got access to records of 189 emergency incidents that occurred at 46 Amazon facilities between December 2013 and December 2018” (Vox). Many of these emergencies involved suicidal tendencies. Although these actions cannot be directly connected to the way Amazon treats their workforce, their employees vouched that the treatment definitely contributed.

Last year in November, Amazon workers went on a Black Friday work strike. With millions of orders from around the world were being placed, an overbearing workload was placed on the employees. In Europe, they started protesting for higher wages and and better work conditions. Reports stated that the workers in England were accusing the company of giving them a lifetime amount of pain, especially mentioning the next-day delivery. “In Germany, about 600 workers walked out of their warehouses in the towns of Bad Hersfeld and Rheinberg” (Vox). Italian workers also walked out and managers were required to finish boxing the leftover shipments long after their workday was over. This was last year, and the problem has not been fixed or even identified by Amazon.

Recently, Amazon’s police reports were released to the public. The 911 calls from Amazon warehouses are alarming and unsettling. The working conditions in the warehouses that the workers have been escorted out of the buildings in ambulances after allegedly trying to take their own lives. “The Daily Beast recently got access to records of 189 emergency incidents that occurred at 46 Amazon facilities between December 2013 and December 2018” (Vox). These workers may already have lives that aren’t great on mental or physical health and are expected to meet extraordinary expectations for job which only pays fifteen dollars an hour. Nick Oates, an Amazon worker in Kansas, describes an unexpected snow storm incident on Cyber Monday. The storm dumped snow on the city and caused multiple power outages, burying many vehicles and requiring the governor to issue a state of emergency. The people were advised not to be on the roads at all, but the Amazon workers received confirmation that they were still required to go to work on the next day, with the small mercy of being forgiven if they clocked in late. “‘Just imagine having to pry your car out of tons of snow and ice,” Oates said. “Then you have to risk your life going home, just to come back on Cyber Monday'” (Business Insider). Oates is only one of many workers who have experienced the pressure of working in a very stressful working conditions.

As described by Amazon employees, the warehouses are not employee friendly. Workers are not allowed to even sit while on the clock and some have been fired for doing so. Even applying for an Amazon job is intimidating and allows a seek peek at how unfair Amazon is to their workers. “On its website, Amazon writes that fulfillment associates help pick, pack and ship customer orders; must be able to lift up to 49 pounds; must be able to stand and walk for 10 to 12 hours and may be required to use “radio frequency scanners” and powered equipment, like a forklift, to receive and move products” (The Street). Promotions in the workforce do not allow more pay, but instead pile even more responsibility on the unstable workers. The workers describe the warehouses with having no windows; and breaks are very few and far between.

These controversies may cause people to rethink who they order their online goods from in the future.