We are well well aware of stories of employees going ‘postal’ under intense pressure to get mail and packages moving….Amazon is no stranger to stressing its employee’s it seems….
The NY Times takes a look at the Amazon warehouse package culture and actions…..
An Amazon worker tries to return from a Covid-related leave and is mistakenly fired. A wife panics as disability benefits halt for her gravely ill husband. An employee is fired for having a single underproductive day.
An examination by The New York Times into how the pandemic unfolded inside Amazon’s only fulfillment center in New York City, known as JFK8, found that the crisis exposed the power and peril of Amazon’s employment system. The company famously obsessed with satisfying customers achieved record growth and spectacular profits, but its management of hundreds of thousands of warehouse workers was marked at times by critical mistakes, communication lapses and high turnover.
Here are the takeaways:
1. Amazon has been churning through employees.
Amazon conducted a hiring surge in 2020 that was unparalleled in American corporate history. In just three months, it signed up 350,000 workers — more than the population of St. Louis — offering a wage of at least $15 an hour and good benefits.
But even before the pandemic, previously unreported data shows, Amazon was losing about 3 percent of its hourly associates each week — meaning its turnover was roughly 150 percent a year. At that rate, Amazon had to replace the equivalent of its entire work force roughly every eight months….
2. Buggy and patchwork systems caused some workers to lose their benefits, and even their jobs, in error.
More than 25 current and former Amazon employees who worked on the disability and leave system bemoaned its inadequacy in interviews, calling it a source of frustration and panic. The problems escalated during the early months of the pandemic, when a new case management system designed to address the problems and provide flexibility was still buggy. Workers who had applied for leaves were penalized for missing work, triggering job-abandonment notices and then terminations.
“Please note the following,” Dan Cavagnaro, a JFK8 worker, wrote in a final, unanswered email plea. “I WISH TO REMAIN EMPLOYED WITH AMAZON.”
He was mistakenly fired anyway….
Mr. Bezos recently made startling concessions about the system he invented. In a letter to shareholders, he said the union effort in Alabama had shown that “we need a better vision for how we create value for employees — a vision for their success” — and vowed to become “Earth’s best employer.”….