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  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 16, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , working conditions   

    Amazon workers need consumers to support strike! 

    Amazon workers need consumers to support strike!

    Right now, Amazon is having its annual mid-year sale known as Prime Day. This year, the sales are taking place over two days with today being the last. Prime Day is only second to Black Friday in terms of purchases made online. Prime Day has gotten so huge that even other retailers are trying to get in on the action. Since this is one of Amazon’s busiest times of the year it should come as no surprise that Amazon workers are probably working extra hours and possibly even extra shifts to get all the merchandise delivered in a timely manner. However, a number of Amazon employees used Prime Day as an opportune time to protest working conditions in the Amazon fulfillment centers.

    Amazon employees from around the globe took to the picket lines to protest what they consider to be problematic working conditions. In Europe, many of Amazon’s employees are unionized but here in the US, they are not. That didn’t stop several Amazon employees from protesting in Shakopee, Minnesota. The protesters believe that they are expected to reach unobtainable production goals at the cost of their health and well being.

    If Amazon was to decrease the demands of their workers that would affect the overall shipping process. Instead of being able to receive a package in two days it might be four or five days instead. Would consumers who are already used to Amazon’s quick delivery be willing to give up such convenience? In order to really send a message to Amazon, the protesters would really need to get a rather large amount of Amazon’s consumers on their side. Without the support of consumers voting with their wallets, we might not see working conditions improve for Amazon fulfillment center employees. Short of government intervention, which seems unlikely at this point, consumer persuasion is probably the only way Amazon will change.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 12, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , working conditions   

    Are employee benefits on the way back? 

    Are employee benefits on the way back?

    In the past few decades, employee benefits have been on a drastic downswing. Long gone are the days where employers offered fair and affordable benefits to their workers. Now at many businesses employees are expected to sacrifice much of their personal life just to be able to collect a paycheck. Combine that with the cost of living greatly exceeding the average employee’s wages and you have a recipe for disaster. Now, one of the nation’s largest employers is offering new benefits to their employees that somewhat harken back to previous eras.

    In an attempt to retain their best employees Target recently announced increased benefits for their employees. The new benefits include paid time off for child or elder care and an expanded parental leave program. Target already paid their employees a better starting salary than WalMart and now with this new benefits package, they may also attract applicants who may not otherwise apply for retail positions.

    While this may sound great in the surface, Target has been vague about some of the more important details of their new benefits. For example, while Target says that “employees will have access to up to 20 days a year of subsidized in-center or in-home care for either children or elders” those subsidies don’t come from Target but from the employee. Target hasn’t released how much that will cost one of their employees but only describes it as ‘affordable’.

    However, this could be a sign of positive change for employees. If more businesses start offering more competitive benefits packages in order to attract better employees maybe will see the return of better benefits for all.

     
  • Geebo 10:06 am on March 5, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , at will states, , , working conditions   

    Is anybody really looking out for employees? 

    Is anybody really looking out for employees?

    It wasn’t too long ago in our country’s history when employers would take advantage of their employees to the point where it was just a step above slavery conditions. This resulted in the rise of labor unions where workers could collectively fight for better wages and working conditions. Thanks to the unions we now have provisions that are considered standard in many workforces such as 40 hour work weeks and weekends off. However, over the years, many unions became corrupt and bloated rife with nepotism and cronyism where the unions in question would make outrageous demands from management. This corruption resulted in some states passing legislation that made it illegal for anyone to be forced to join a union if they didn’t want to. These states are now called ‘at will’ states which is intended to mean that employees could work at will but along with that choice employers were given the power to fire employees at will. Now, most of the country’s workforce are stuck in situations where they are forced to sacrifice much of their personal lives in order to keep working.

    For example, mothers who work at Amazon are asking the company to provide backup daycare services for their kids. While not many employers offer this kind of service it shows how little some employers value their staff. Some reports even state that some female Amazon employees will hide the fact that they have children from their coworkers as not to be seen as ‘distracted’. It’s to the point where mothers at Amazon allegedly feel like they have little to no recourse if they are admonished for wanting to take care of their family. This is just one company’s example of how the workforce is being treated in our country. In other company’s employees don’t even have the benefits of an Amazon job. Healthcare benefits have eroded immensely over the past few decades as has paid time off.

    Labor laws and regulations need to be reexamined for today’s workforce. There has to be a happy medium somewhere between a labor union that could keep you out of work for weeks on strikes or keep you low on the union totem pole since you don’t know the right people and the at-will states where workers constantly worry if today is the day where they’ll be released for no apparent reason other than as a cost-cutting measure or they didn’t kowtow to the corporate culture at the price of their family. For our country’s workforce to thrive there needs to be equal give and take between employer and employee but right now it seems that the workers are the only ones doing any giving.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on July 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , working conditions   

    The true cost of Prime Day 

    The true cost of Prime Day

    Later today, Amazon will kick off its annual summer version of Black Friday they call Prime Day. This means anyone with an Amazon Prime account will be able to get great deals on any number of items being offered by the online retail leader. According to an estimate by CNN Money, Amazon is expected to make $3.4 billion this year during its Prime Day rush. However, while you may get a great deal on an Amazon Echo delivered to your door, there’s a human cost to the slashed prices and marketing blitz of Prime Day.

    For the past few years, Amazon has been under fire for allegedly treating its employees at its fulfillment centers like so much chattel. According to a blistering expose released by the New York Times a few years ago, not only does Amazon supposedly overwork their employees in such a way that it’s often referred to as a sweatshop, but Amazon has also been accused of playing fast and loose with labor laws when it comes to its staffing practices. In many cases, an Amazon worker is ‘on the clock’ even when they’re not being paid because they need to be in constant contact with Amazon all hours of the day and night.

    As I posted around this time last year, many people refuse to shop at WalMart due to the supposed poor working conditions their employees have to endure, yet we have no trouble giving Amazon our money when their employees are treated just as bad or worse. Again, is it because we don’t ever see Amazon’s employees work so they’re out of sight and out of mind? Or is it because we value having indulgent computer boxes that we ask inane questions sent to our door with free shipping over the lives of the workers that bring them to us? Please consider that before making your next Amazon purchase.

     
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