Ask The Amazon Workers How They Are Faring - And Response (2)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Wow Roy, Thanks for spelling out so well the corporate dream in America - Hire folks that will work for free. That is what Bar Raisers do with the time they devote to interviews. And to think in a town an hour and a half northwest on I-24 some of the Amazon staff are in a lawsuit  for pay they say they deserve as they wait to go through security at the end of the work day.

               Why don't you talk to people who worked and work at the local Amazon facility who were not allowed to take toilet breaks. Talk to the people who left barefoot because they could not wear their shoes from raw blistered feet. Or ask how many miles they walk in a shift. It is 16, I believe in 12 hours. Or was that eight hours. Now if one wears a pedometer, that is wrong, no electronic devices are allowed. So the documentation possible is not legal by Amazon rules.  Ask how it feels to work 12 hours. No, let's back up here, picture yourself doing this: drive to work, get there 1.5 hours before clock in time to clock in on time. After all, we can't stagger shifts.  Work 12 hours, go through security screen, wait 1/2 hour to get out of the parking lot. So you have spent 14 hours just handling work. Now go home. Hope there is no family to look after. Or groceries or doctor visit, or life.

        Yes, I am guilty. I do spend a bit of money with this behemoth. But when I have the choice, and I choose a lot, I will spend my money elsewhere. Because, just like employees, when I ask for service and  help with Amazon, I get put into a maze that tries to wear me out rather than do due diligence and resolve the issue. Yes, help does come, but nothing like the speed it has to process my payment and put shoe rubber all over the floors of their warehouses.

         I am curious, Roy. You probably have done this, man of silver foot. I  helped friends get hay out of the field, square bales, the old-fashioned way. Granted, I drove the truck a bit. I  wore my pants and long sleeves and got hay on the trailers, stacked in the barn, and went back for another field until the deed was done. This work is best done on a hot day after the dew has burned off so the hay is dry. Just like Amazon you don't ride bale to bale. You walk. So when you can, kinda like horse detective work, talk to some of the  toter walkers, the ones that will talk and get their stories. And  send or print or whatever happens to publish here.

          So Amazon and their management have a lot to figure out. The work ethic they need is there -they just have to find the folks.  My hunch is they need to pick the human mules they want, or realize that really good management uses all the minds and bodies they have, not just the minds they put in charge. What I have heard about the local facility is input from the minions on the floor is all but non-existent. And management has a harsh attitude to any sort of standing up for rights.

         Now, Roy, as a man of certain cloth, have no fear. Your fellows at our local printed paper gave one sentence to the jam in the parking lot in the piece about how busy Amazon was for the holidays. So the secret is safe. These borrowed mules, you know what a borrowed mule is, Aye? These borrowed mules are helping a corporate titan thrive in this right to work state. And no one, yet, no one has anything to print about how the collective mood is working  at Amazon. What is the happiness index of workers? What is the fatigue quotient. 

Oh, I get it, you have Amazon stock. Wow, that stuff looks like a mountain side. If you want to see it keep climbing, put on some reporter shoe leather and help the people who make the process work for their bosses. That'll be some news. 

Thanks, 

Prentice Hicks

* * * 

Prentice Hicks,
If working conditions are as terrible as you describe I would assume that the people you know working at Amazon would be more than willing to give up their jobs to friends of mine that would be grateful to trade a hard day of work for the fair wage they pay at Amazon. 

Evan Greene
Chattanooga 

* * * 

I have a relative that works at the local Amazon facility. He was glad to get the job and after several months he is still glad to be working there. He has echoed some of the concerns mentioned in the other posts here, but he does not want to quit. 

I worked in the hospital environment for close to 30 years and covered all kinds of shifts. The last few years I chose to work 12 hour shifts. The down side? Fatigue. The benefit? Continuity of work and patient care since information has to be handed off fewer times in a 24-hour period. 

With the sheer numbers of employees at Amazon, changing shifts more often would simply cut down productivity as thousands have to move in and out of the facility from parking, get punched in and out, etc. 

Amazon has a lot of strict rules. There is no time for employees to stand around and talk.  They have to work very fast and in close proximity. Pointless chatter would destroy productivity. If an employee did not get a bathroom break, maybe they chose not to so they could meet "production" quotas. Maintaining employment and getting raises depends on good production and following the rules closely. Amazon is a true example of being paid for your work ethic and production. 

I went inside a convenience store recently and the clerk was standing at the register talking to her boyfriend on her iphone. I had to wait for her to finish so that I could pay for my purchase. When I called the company later and reported her, they were not happy. 

Maybe Amazon should be running more businesses? They are clear about their rules. They enforce the rules. Those that break the rules are given chance to improve, and if they don't, they can find employment elsewhere. It's old fashioned and tough, and the current generations aren't familiar with that kind of work for the most part.  In my opinion our society needs more jobs like those offered at Amazon. 

Ted Ladd
East Ridge


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