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  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , pregnant employees   

    Is Amazon firing expecting mothers? 

    Is Amazon firing expecting mothers?

    Amazon, once again, finds themselves being portrayed in the media in an unflattering light. They’re coming under fire again for their alleged treatment of their employees in their fulfillment centers. In the past, Amazon has been accused of not only overworking their employees but pervading every instance of the employees’ lives. Reportedly, many Amazon employees are so afraid of losing their jobs that they’ll work sick or injured which only further exacerbates their mental and physical conditions. Now, Amazon is being accused of unfairly firing a group of employees that should be protected by law.

    Recently, CNET published an expose into Amazon’s supposed practice of firing pregnant employees. Amazon is facing several lawsuits over this practice and there could even be more victims of this practice that are either too afraid to sue or just can’t afford legal representation. However, one woman who claims to be a victim of Amazon is speaking out about her treatment by the company. The woman claims that Amazon would use declining production standards as a way to terminate her while she was pregnant even though by her doctor’s orders she couldn’t perform the same tasks in the fulfillment center. She also claims that Amazon was unwilling to accommodate her in such a way that would benefit both parties. Amazon’s infamous bathroom break policy which sees employees get written up if they take more than 10 minutes and are only allowed so many breaks per day. As you can imagine, this policy is not very amenable to pregnant workers.

    She’s not the only former employee suing Amazon as there have been six other lawsuits filed against Amazon in the past four years over similar treatment. That may not sound like a lot but Amazon has settled out of court for other former employees claiming wrongful termination. Sadly, Amazon isn’t the only multi-billion dollar corporation that allegedly discriminates against pregnant employees but is at the top of the ladder when it comes to being visible in the public eye. Unfortunately, it seems they’re setting a bad example for the rest of corporate America to follow.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 30, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, ,   

    Amazon offering first HQ2 jobs 

    Amazon offering first HQ2 jobs

    Amazon’s proposed development for HQ2 in Virginia

    Even though Amazon withdrew their plans for their second headquarters to be built in New York after a grassroots campaign drove them out, the retail leader seems to be all in with the Commonwealth of Virginia. Just recently, Amazon announced the first opening positions for the new headquarters that is planned to span through both Alexandria and Arlington. The first positions have already been posted to Amazon’s job website. This comes along with the promise of 400 more jobs by the ends of the year and an additional 25,000 jobs in the coming years. However, just as it was in New York, Amazon’s presence in Virginia does not come without controversy.

    Much like what happened in New York, Virginia and Arlington County have offered multi-million dollar incentives for Amazon to develop their headquarters there. While many politicians in Virginia supported these incentives, there have been detractors. These detractors are concerned that Amazon will not be hiring many local employees and instead will be hiring people from out-of-state. That, in turn, could potentially make the already strained housing market even worse, especially for lower-income families. Amazon’s proponents say that Amazon will bring Virginia a windfall of tax revenue, however, it has to be mentioned that Amazon has been accused of taking advantage of tax loopholes where they paid no federal income tax last year.

    Getting back to the potential housing crisis coming to Virginia, Amazon states that the median income of its HQ2 employees will be over $100,000. Many local leaders fear that the area will become more gentrified than it already is. This could potentially drive many lower-income families out of the area. However, with the proposed scope of the construction of the new headquarters that could result in thousands of construction jobs for several years.

    Are you from this part of Virginia? If you are, how do you feel about Amazon coming into your area? Do you think it will be an economic boon for Northern Virginia, or will it result in more economic inequality? Please let us know what you think.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , Nashville,   

    Are secret shoppers and Instagram deals for real? 

    Instagram counterfeits, secret shopping jobs, and Amazon to open Nashville hub

    If you’ve ever been approached by a street vendor to buy a ‘genuine’ Rolex watch, you’re probably already familiar with the counterfeit market. With the advance of digital technology those type of vendors have moved online and seem to be particularly prolific on Instagram. According to NBC News, Instagram is full of phony vendors selling knock-off products while claiming to be such brand names as Gucci, Chanel, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton, and Dior. NBC advises you should be wary of ads that contain the word ‘replica’ or vendors that instruct you to communicate with them over encrypted messaging apps.

    ***

    Previously, we’ve warned about secret shopper scams many times. In too many cases ads for these type of jobs are scams designed to get you to deposit phony checks and wire back the difference to scammers. Once the check is found to be phony by your bank you could be on the hook for the full amount of the check. So are there real secret shopper jobs out there? Yes, according to CNBC who direct you to the Mystery Shopping Providers Association. CNBC goes on to call the MSPA the BBB of Mystery Shopping. However, you should also be aware that secret shopper jobs are better suited for supplemental income rather than as a full-time position.

    ***

    Amazon is set to open a retail operations hub in the Nashville Metro area. This has not been without controversy as Amazon has been promised a $17.5 million incentive package by the Metro Nashville Council in exchange for 5,000 jobs. This appears to be a routine tactic for Amazon as they previously pulled out of New York City after many vocal opponents of the plan objected to the incentives that the city and state were promising Amazon as they felt the funds could be better spent elsewhere. It remains to be seen if this will start to become a trend elsewhere in the country.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , charity scam, , , minimum wage, Notre Dame Cathedral,   

    Hold off on Notre Dame donations, Facebook’s latest privacy accident, and an Amazon employee puts Bezos’ boast into perspective 

    Hold off on Notre Dame donations, Facebook's latest privacy accident, and an Amazon employee puts Bezos' boast into persepctive

    By now, we’re all familiar with the events that took place in Paris where fire ravaged the famous Notre Dame Cathedral. While multitudes across the globe were moved to the point where they were willing to dedicate money you may want to wait on doing so. The BBB of Canada is warning consumers there to beware of phony donation scams on social media and crowdfunding sites. The BBB suggests that you wait until there is an official Notre Dame rebuilding fund donation program if you’re so inclined.

    ***

    Facebook is finding itself in yet another privacy kerfuffle as they claim that they ‘unintentionally’ harvested the email contacts of about 1.5 million of its users during the past three years. When new users would sign up for a Facebook account, Facebook would ask for your email password. Anybody who gave that information to Facebook would have their entire contacts list harvested. Facebook says this practice, which has since ended, was used to “help build Facebook’s web of social connections and recommend other users to add as friends.” If your contacts were harvested, Facebook will reportedly contact you.

    ***

    Last week, we posted about how Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos taunted WalMart on Twitter for not paying their employees $15/hr. WalMart fired back asking when Amazon was going to pay its fair share in taxes. More recently, the news blog Splinter has received an email from an anonymous Amazon employee who works as a customer service agent. It seems that the wage increase may have come at the expense of other benefits. According to the anonymous employee, Amazon took away incentive bonuses and stock grants leaving the bottom rung of Amazon’s corporate ladder basically in the same place they were when they started.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 17, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Amazon, , , , north dakota, , , ,   

    OfferUp user assaulted outside of police station, BBB warns of car scam, and Amazon’s board to vote on facial recognition 

    OfferUp user assaulted outside of police station, BBB warns of car scam, and Amazon's board to vote on facial recognition

    As we always say, when meeting someone for an online transaction you should always make the transaction at a local police department. It can go a long way in helping to ensure your safety. However, that was not the case for a man in Albuquerque. This man was meeting someone through OfferUp to sell a camera. The suspect posing as a buyer lured the man out of the view of the police department’s security cameras before trying to rob the man. The victim was dragged about 20 feet after the suspect drove off while holding on to the camera. If someone tries to get you away from the police station it may just be a trap.

    ***

    The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota is warning residents of the two states to be aware of phony car scams that are proliferating in the area. They’re reporting that there are a number of phony car dealerships who are advertising cars on craigslist for a price well below market value. The phony dealerships then ask for the money to be wired to them before cutting off all contact with the victim. When buying a car online from a dealership, always do a web search to make sure such a dealership exists and money should never be wired for a transaction under any circumstance. It’s too easy for scammers to make off with your money while remaining anonymous.

    ***

    Previously, we’ve discussed how high-ranking Amazon employees have called Amazon’s environmental practices into question. Now it seems that shareholders are also getting ready to decide on another one of Amazon’s business practices. Next month the board will vote on whether or not Amazon should ban the sale of their facial recognition software called Rekognition to governments and governmental agencies. We’ve posted before about how a number of civil liberty groups complained about Amazon trying to sell Rekognition to police departments as the tool could be easily used to violate civil rights. Combine Rekognition with all the Amazon Echoes in people’s homes and Jeff Bezos’ ownership in the Washington Post and you could see how some board members may view this all as a privacy overreach on Amazon’s part.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , , ,   

    Amazon fighting porch pirates, Amazon Go to accept cash, and Amazon taunting Walmart 

    Amazon fighting porch pirates, Amazon Go to accept cash, and Amazon taunting Walmart

    Previously, when we’ve discussed packages being stolen from your porch or property we’ve been told to notify the police but in the long run, there’s not much they can do about the thefts. That is unless Amazon themselves get involved. According to Motherboard, Amazon worked with a number of police departments during last years holiday season in order to combat those who have been dubbed ‘porch pirates’. While these Amazon assisted sting operations didn’t take place in major cities like New York or Los Angeles, they did take place in fairly prominent urban areas such as Albuquerque and Jersey City. However, Motherboard was unable to uncover how many arrests actually took place during these sting operations.

    ***

    If you’ll recall, Amazon Go was supposed to be a completely cashierless store. Customers were supposed to just walk into the store, grab what they needed and have their purchases billed to their Amazon accounts through their smartphones. No cash was ever supposed to change hands. But as the saying goes the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. Many state and local governments have come out in opposition to cashless stores as they feel it further disenfranchises low-income families who may not have access to a bank account. New Jersey and Philadelphia recently outlawed cashless stores and San Francisco may be doing the same. More recently, it’s been reported that Amazon Go stores in certain locations will, in fact, accept cash for transactions. In these markets will cash transactions reduce Amazon Go to just another convenience store or will they still mostly attract those who would prefer to pay without cash?

    ***

    Lastly today, it seems the country’s two largest retail giants, Amazon and Walmart, have engaged in an almost schoolyard-like exchange of dares. It started out with Jeff Bezos publicly challenging WalMart to give their workers a better starting salary.

    “Today I challenge our top retail competitors (you know who you are!) to match our employee benefits and our $15 minimum wage,” Bezos wrote in a letter to shareholders.

    “Do it! Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us. It’s a kind of competition that will benefit everyone.”

    WalMart has long been criticized for underpaying their employees but they didn’t take this lying down.

    On Thursday, Walmart’s executive vice president of corporate affairs, Dan Bartlett, tagged Bezos in a tweet which said: “Hey retail competitors out there (you know who you are 😉) how about paying your taxes?”

    This was in reference to the fact that Amazon has been accused of structuring their company in such a way and getting significant tax breaks that they pay little to no federal corporate income tax.

    Meanwhile, both companies have been long criticized for allegedly treating their most hard-working employees down in the trenches unfairly. Both corporations have been accused in the past of abusing their low ranking employees by creating a climate of inadequate pay and benefits combined with a climate of fear where employees are afraid to make any concern known without losing their jobs.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , Canberra, climate change, , drones, Nipsey Hussle, , , Wing   

    Australian drones, craigslist funeral scalpers, and Amazon employees on climate change 

    Australian drones, craigslist funeral scalpers, and Amazon employees on climate change

    In the Australian capital of Canberra, a fleet of commercial delivery drones has officially been launched for service. The drones are owned by Wing, a subsidiary of Goole’s parent company Alphabet. The drones were tested in the area for a year before officially launching. At first many in the areas surrounding Canberra complained about the noise the drones made, however, the new fleet of drones are said to be quieter. That doesn’t mean that there have been safety restrictions applied to the drones’ usage. The drones can only fly during the day starting at 8am and are forbidden from flying over busy roads and crowds. So far, the drones have been only making small deliveries such as coffee and takeout orders. Are we one step closer to drone delivery becoming an everyday occurrence, or will they be more of a nuisance if deployed on a larger scale? Only time will tell.

    ***

    If you follow entertainment news at all, you may have heard about the unfortunate murder of L.A. based rapper Nipsey Hussle. He was gunned down outside of his own clothing shop in L.A. towards the end of March. The rapper was so beloved that there will be a memorial service for him at the Staple’s Center arena. The tickets to his memorial were given out free on a first come first serve basis. That hasn’t stopped scalpers from trying to sell the free tickets on craigslist for upwards of $500 a piece. Craigslist themselves have removed the ads scalping the tickets to the memorial. While we applaud craigslist for the move we have to wonder why craigslist doesn’t use this power more often when it comes to other questionable items for sale on their platform. If you did happen to buy a ticket to the memorial service on craigslist you may be out of luck. The tickets’ distributor says that the tickets are being distributed through a mobile app and are non-transferrable.

    ***

    A group of Amazon employees that number in the thousands have called on the retail giant to do better when it comes to affecting climate change in Amazon’s daily business. While Amazon has promised to “reach 50 percent of all Amazon shipments with net zero carbon by 2030” some Amazon employees say that’s not enough. 4,520 Amazon employees have signed an open letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos asking for better environmental protections during Amazon’s daily proceedings. If you scroll through the names of the signatories of the letter you might notice that the majority of them are technical engineers and managers and not many warehouse workers. Amazon has been widely criticized in recent times for their alleged mistreatment of workers in their distribution centers. One has to wonder where the open letter is for that.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Alexa for Business, Amazon, , , phone security, Virgin Vinyl,   

    Using a second phone number, Virgin Records on the seas, and Alexa for work 

    Using a second phone number, Virgin Records on the seas, and Alexa for work

    Popular Science is offering a pretty good deal for an app called Hushed. Hushed allows you to have a secondary phone number that you can give out to people or companies that you may not be comfortable in giving your primary number to. The deal PopSci is offering is a much better deal than you can get from the Hushed website. However, if you would prefer a free alternative there is always Google Voice where you can also get a secondary number. The drawback to Google Voice is that even though the service has been around for years, Google has a habit of killing a number of their most beloved services with little to no warning.

    Previously, we’ve posted about Virgin Voyages, Richard Branson’s vacation cruise line with a more modern and extravagant appeal. Not surprisingly, there will be a record store aboard Virgin Voyage’s cruise ships. It won’t be a record store in name only as Virgin Vinyl will be selling actual vinyl records. Customers won’t be stuck with a record and nothing to play it on while on the cruise as the rooms come equipped with turntables.

    Amazon’s ubiquitous Alexa service will soon be offered to companies to use as a corporate assistant tool. Alexa for Business will offer several modules called Blueprints that companies can use to free up other resources.

    The blueprints include many of the questions employees regularly bug HR or IT desks about, including; “What’s the guest WiFi password,” “When does open enrollment start?” and “How do I set up email on my phone?” Other Alexa for Business blueprints can help with onboarding new employees, answer common questions, and even broadcast pre-recorded messages.

    However, it’s currently not made clear how secure the Alexa devices would be on corporate networks but one would have to assume it would be more secure than just bringing an Echo from home and letting employees plug in their own devices.

    Speaking of Amazon, they are once again on another hiring spree, this time for jobs in their Tech Hub in Austin, Texas. At current, Amazon is looking to fill 800 positions in Austin, however, if you’re in the market for one of these positions be careful of job scams that seem to crop up around Amazon hiring phases. Keep in mind that Amazon only has one official employment portal at Amazon.jobs and any other website with Amazon in the URL is more than likely run by scammers.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on March 18, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, , , , , Spokane,   

    Amazon job scam is permeating NW Washington State 

    Amazon job scam permeating NW Washington State

    Previously, we’ve mentioned how Amazon is hiring for new work at home positions and how job scams topped the BBB’s list of worst scams in 2018. Now, those two stories seem to have converged into one. One of the states where Amazon is looking to hire new employees is Washington. They are also looking to open a new fulfillment center in Spokane that promises an additional 1500 positions. Due to those factors. among others, scammers have decided to use Amazon’s hiring initiative in the are to embark on a massive fleecing of Amazon hopefuls.

    The scam appears to be overly elaborate but effective at the same time. It starts out with a robocall going out to local residents offering positions with Amazon that supposedly pay $27 an hour. The robocall directs victims to go to a website that has the Amazon name in the site’s address but isn’t an official Amazon website. Once there, victims are instructed to enter personal and financial information while the phony website makes it look like the victim is applying for a job at Amazon. More than likely, any unsuspecting victim of this scam will have their identity and possibly their finances stolen.

    Another aspect of the scam has the scammers trying to get their victims to pay the scammers money for phony employment fees such as processing fees or background check fees. The scammers will try to get this money through either requesting the money be wired to them or paid through gift cards, two of the most prevalent calling cards of a scammer. Amazon themselves have commented on this scam stating that they will never ask a prospective employee for financial information or request any kind of employment fee. These tips not only apply to Amazon but also to most major employers. If these tips are kept in mind hopefully your potential job search will be a relatively stress-free one.

     
  • Geebo 9:23 am on March 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Amazon, ,   

    Amazon announces thousands of customer service jobs, but are they worth it? 

    Amazon announces thousands of customer service jobs, but are they worth it?

    Amazon recently announced that they will be hiring 3,000 employees to work at home as customer service reps. The job is said to pay $15/hr. for 20-29 hours per week but those hours could increase to 60 hours a week with overtime pay. Health benefits would be provided after 90 days. Does it sound too good to be true? Maybe.

    The first catch is that you need to live in one of only 18 states and those states are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming. While the $15/hr. rate is great compared to the cost of living in many of these states, a lot of these states are at-will states leaving employees without much recourse if they’re fired unjustly. You’re also required to have your own working computer and a reliable internet connection which could disqualify many people in these largely rural states.

    So you have a blazing fast internet connection, a top of the line computer, and you live in one of these states. That means you’re ready to start making money with Amazon right? Well, before you do that you may want to check the reviews of Amazon’s work at home program on job review site Glassdoor. While Amazon gets an overall positive recommendation from Glassdoor users, you may want to look at some of the negative reviews from current and previous Amazon employees. Many of them talk about the lack of training and the lack of managerial support which in a high-volume customer service position could mean even more potential pressure placed on customer service reps.

    We’re not saying that you shouldn’t apply for one of these jobs, however, you should consider all the options before committing yourself to work for Amazon.

     
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