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Tired, Dirty, and Overworked: Inside Amazon’s Holiday Rush

Tired, Dirty, and Overworked: Inside Amazon’s Holiday Rush

#Tired #Dirty #Overworked #Amazons #Holiday #Rush Welcome to InNewCL, here is the new story we have for you today:

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Tyler Hamilton optimized every waking minute. Five nights a week between Black Friday and Christmas, he gets out of bed, brushes his teeth and rushes to his car just before sunset. On his way to the Amazon fulfillment center in Shakopee, Minnesota, he stops at Wendy’s for two bourbon and bacon burgers, two large chiles, fries, and a drink.

Hamilton eats the burgers as he drives, then chimes in to start his shift just before 5 p.m. and arrange incoming product inventory. In the middle of the night, he takes a thirty-minute unpaid break and reheats the chilies. When he pulls out at 5:30 a.m., his car is frozen, so Hamilton sits huddled in the dark until it’s warm enough to drive home.

“Then I have to take a shower because working 12.5 hours at Amazon means you get dirty,” he says. “I’ll take some juice and maybe watch some YouTube or something and just pass out.” He does it all again the next night.

With holiday shopping peaking this week, Amazon’s two-day Prime shipping remains one of the few options left for desperate shoppers still hoping to order online. It’s a notoriously busy and demanding time for the company’s employees, with the period between Black Friday and Christmas Day known as “high season”.

During peak hours, Amazon requires workers to add a full 10- or 11-hour shift to their already demanding weekly schedules, several employees told WIRED, and penalizes those who don’t by giving each a day of unpaid leave cancel missed extra shift. The company is also increasing the daily expected worker productivity rate, which is defined in terms of metrics such as items wrapped per hour, workers say.

The four workers interviewed for this article also say their managers talk less about safety during this time and instead emphasize speed. All have been involved in organizing colleagues to try to improve working conditions, but none work in a facility where a union application has been made.

Amazon spokesman Steve Kelly denies the company is raising its productivity expectations for workers and says they are carefully set. “We evaluate performance based on safe and achievable expectations that take into account time and tenure, peer performance and adherence to safe work practices,” he says.

Largely through its massive logistics operations, Amazon has become the dominant online retailer in the US and in countries like the UK and Germany. But the company’s facilities have built a reputation for punishing working conditions. Amazon is the second-largest private employer in the US — behind Walmart — employing nearly 800,000 workers in “blue collar” roles as of 2021. Workers at an Amazon facility on Staten Island won a union vote earlier this year, but the company disputes the result.

This year’s holiday season comes at a difficult time for both Amazon executives and logistics workers. In 2022, the company’s revenue grew at its slowest pace in more than 20 years and in November it began laying off 10,000 of the company’s employees. Amazon also lost nearly 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers this year, it told investors, largely by failing to replace employees who left the company, which has a high turnover rate in those positions. The company still hired additional staff to handle the seasonal rush and announced in October that it would add 150,000 temp workers to its warehousing and delivery operations.

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