If you, like me, have been reading years of reports on Amazon’s atrocious working conditions, you probably won’t like the part of the article that cites an Amazon spox template statement about worker valuation. Reports of workplace injury rates, strenuous conditions, dystopian vigilance, and urine bottles typically don’t wipe them out for many years. But watch Twitter closely and once in a blue moon, you’ll see the glorious flash of an Amazon official setting his hair on fire.
This is one of those days.
The uproar began about 18 hours ago in light of the March 30 vote count for the unionization drive at Amazon’s Bessemer, Alabama warehouse. If 50 percent plus one of the voters choose to unionize, employees can form a union under the Retail, Wholesale, and Large Stores Union (RWDSU). Bernie sanders, civil rights leader William Barber, Killer Mike and Danny Glover, are appearing. Stacey Abrams is the face of the fight.
The official Amazon News Twitter account has a total denial of the urine bottles.
In response to Rep. Mark Pocan’s (D-WI) rebuttal that having workers pee in bottles does not constitute a progressive workplace, the company fired him via his official Twitter account: “You really don’t believe it. to urinate in bottles, do you? If that were true, no one would work for us. “
Given the overwhelming evidence, yes I do.
The episode began when Dave Clark, CEO of Amazon’s Global Consumer (its retail business), took to Twitter yesterday to shoot Bernie Sanders for not being progressive enough for Amazon.
“I welcome @SenSanders to Birmingham and I appreciate their push for a progressive workplace, ”said Clark tweeted yesterday. “I often say that we are the Bernie Sanders of employers, but that is not entirely correct because we actually offer a progressive workplace.”
Clark added that Amazon’s “constituents” get a $ 15 minimum wage, health care, “career advancement” opportunity, and a “safe and inclusive work environment.”
This is the same shit the company has been spitting on its anti-union propaganda campaign, and I’ll get to that in a minute. But Clark isn’t done with frenzied ad hominem attacks.
“All we want to know is why Sen is one of the most powerful politicians in VT for over 30 years and his minimum wage is STILL only $ 11.75,” he said. tweeted (covers his). “AMZN’s minimum wage is $ 15 + excellent health care from day one. The senator should save his finger-shaking speech until after he actually gives birth in his own backyard.”
We can thank Bernie Sanders for getting a recently unthinkable $ 15 federal minimum wage in the table. Former Amazon employees can thank Dave “The Sniper” Clark for stalking around Amazon warehouses to ambush or shoot them for their perceived laziness. Back then, he was just a budding Amazon employee.
But back to Amazon: At at the beginning of the pandemic, the company Offered a meager $ 2 / hour risk raise and revoked it just a few months later, in early June. The Brookings Institute classified amazon one of the “least generous” companies to amass huge profits during the pandemic.
In response to Clark’s comments, RWDSU President Stuart Appelbaum wrote in a statement shared with Gizmodo that “if working conditions were that good, Amazon would not have such an extraordinarily high turnover rate of over 100 percent. one hundred a year at their facilities. ” The reference probably comes from the Seattle Times finding that the company had a 100% turnover rate for front-line workers, twice the average for other warehouse and retail employers.
The finding suggests that Amazon employees may not be seeing the “career progression” opportunities Clark mentions. They have told numerous media they are not exactly treated as valuable team members.
“Amazon is a very hostile and unsympathetic place,” a Maryland-based distribution center worker told Gizmodo last month. “You must realize that my manager is improving my rate and my quality because my manager’s bonus depends on his team making a certain quota.” There are days, she says, when Amazon managers seem to be “looking to fire people” and she is constantly penalized.
For Clark’s points about a “progressive workplace,” Amazon’s anti-union efforts have sought to reinforce a sense of self-righteousness through Stockholm syndrome-style messages posted in warehouse bathrooms and sent to its employees. The puppet ads to workers that echo Amazon’s line that corrupt unions pocket workers’ profits without accomplishing anything for themselves. TO website tells workers that “there is much MORE they can do for their career and family without paying dues,” not to mention that in Alabama, a right-to-work state, workers can vote for a union and still choose don’t do it. Join up.
An overwhelming number of accounts and evidence have shown that Clark’s claim of a “safe work environment” is simply false. A research Reveal from the Center of Investigative Reporting found last year that Amazon officials were misleading the public with safety claims, while internal documents showed a shockingly high injury rate at more than 150 warehouses. Their review found that in 2019, Amazon recorded 14,000 serious injuries or injuries that required time away from work. That was 7.7 serious injuries for every 100 employees; comparably, OSHA records show that this is more than three times the average serious injury rate in general storage and warehousing.
Amazon hasn’t just misled workers about union roles. Internal documents obtained by Motherboard demonstrate that the company hired Pinkerton agents to oversee the efforts, and that the company has sent by mail employees flyers “VOTE NO”, instructing them to send their ballots through a newly installed mailbox outside the warehouse.
“USPS recently installed an on-site mailbox at BHM1 for the convenience of our employees,” an Amazon spokesperson told Gizmodo, assuring us that it was installed for the purpose of ensuring a “convenient, secure and private” voting-by-mail process. They added that only the USPS can collect mail.
Reuters has also reported that Amazon has listed former employees as eligible voters: Amazon’s list, under NLRB rules, is the only list of voters for the election. Two former employees contacted by Reuters claim to have voted. However, the National Labor Relations Board is expected to validate eligibility, read each name before the ballot is opened, and the RWDSU may challenge eligibility before the ballot is opened. The union tells Gizmodo that it has contacted the people on the list.
Although the choice has been unusually quick, according to the RWDSU, we should probably buckle up for a long wait. The NLRB is more than likely to hold a hearing on the contested ballots, and Amazon can challenge the ballots for any number of reasons, including mismatched signatures. Several subsequent steps could slow down the process, including a NLRB Hearing on whether Amazon deliberately misled voters or instilled fear of retaliation that could invalidate the election.
Whether it takes weeks, months or years, prominent union supporters must keep agitating. That Amazon is coming down from on high to lose it to urine bottles in reaction to a pro-union tweet appears to have been carefully constructed. union proof The fortress might be less impenetrable than you thought.
Updated 03/25/21 6:00 pm ET: Leaked documents posted by Interception indicate that Amazon management is well aware that its employees must relieve themselves on bags and bottles.
A screenshot of an email apparently sent by an Amazon fulfillment manager fully acknowledges that outsourced delivery drivers do not have human access to the bathroom. Instead of fixing the problem, they issue a threat:
Tonight, an associate discovered human feces in an Amazon bag that the driver returned to the station. This is the third time in the last 2 months that the bags have been returned to the station with poop inside. We understand that DA’s [delivery associates, aka Amazon’s subcontracted drivers] They can have emergencies while on the road, and especially during Covid, DAs have had a hard time finding toilets during labor. Regardless, DAs cannot, MUST NOT, return bags to the station with poop in it.
The Intercept also obtained a document from an Amazon employee that specifically lists “urinating in public” and “defecating in public” as employee violations. The motherboard has previously published documents that establish the same rules for delivery subcontractors