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For today’s discussions, I thought I would do a deeper dive and try to understand more fully what working inside an Amazon warehouse might be like. There may be variations into different locations, the types of facilities (Sorting Center vs. Fulfillment Center, Delivery Station) that I don’t understand the nuances. Additionally, there may be some misinterpretation of the some of the acronyms and nicknames associated with different positions (for example I have figured out what job a “Water Spider” actually performs).
My sources: I wanted to get straight to the actual employees and their input. Now there aren’t Amazon facilities I can readily go to and interview people, after all I am not a news correspondent looking for the latest scoop, I am just a resident of the town of Hudson looking to better understand who our potential new resident is.
Facebook provided a great source of information, many of the Amazon centers have “group” facebook pages. Most are private, some are public. One of the groups, a facility called TUS2, had some entertaining posts and memes. Not unlike some of the local “town” pages - a bit of trolling going on, a lot of memes, but surprisingly no questions about the best sub-shops in town. Given a short lunch break, seems like there isn't time to get off site.
With peak season in full play (this site implies that there will be four weeks of peak, down from six weeks last year) a lot of the memes have to do with the extra time working. This was a fun meme:
On the plus side, an opportunity to make some overtime during holidays. But a little further down, it seems like burn-out can also be an issue.
Albeit – a Facebook page will have a lot of negatives and people complain a lot, so if you want to visit at least one here is a link. https://www.facebook.com/groups/553691781865525
I wasn’t really compelled that Facebook was the best source – there is no anonymity and what is posted could be viewed by the employer. Note that many of the facility specific groups were private. Many companies have policies on what an employee can post on social media, myself included.
Fortunately, I work for a great company. When Covid-19 forced all but essential businesses to close, our organization immediately increased pay to essential workers reporting to our factories (I believe it was 15%), and we donated tens of thousands of masks and other personal protective wear to local hospitals. I have nothing to complain. But to put myself into the position of a warehouse employee, possibly living pay-check to pay-check; I would be extremely careful on content on social media.
I dug a bit further.
I found “reditt.com” and a voluminous amount of posts, anonymous I admit, but peeling back the onion on a company that may, or may not, be where you might want to work. I was encouraged by the comments of the true Amazonians who thrive in this type of environment. I was deeply disturbed by the stress others barely endure.
Let us take a look at a VOA board posting – Voice of the Associate. In this case a white board within the facility.
This discussion is called Say it Louder for the People in Back -
To the new peeps - Amazon is the richest firm in the world, headed by the richest man in the world. We are exposed to the possibility of COVID everyday yet we don’t get hazard pay, paid sick leave, and we run the risk of being fired in we unionize. Stop telling us “good job” and start paying us like this. You can find the discussion here.
Amazon is starting to move to a Virtual Voice of the Associate (VVOA) – anonymity is no longer guaranteed for reasons of safety and security – here posted by the IT team.
And response from an associate, indicating that the display is frequently turned-off
Finally, this post really plucked my heart strings. WeepinWidow is tagged as the author, and I feel so sad for her.
Stressed beyond belief, used her saving on bills during Covid leave, as noted on the white board above, no paid sick leave it seems. So sad. I would encourage you to read the story here. Reddit has multiple threads, where discussions can spin off and is interesting to explore the full story and opinions from many sides.
Consider these things when you “ADD TO CART” and need your next day shipping. Consider these things when you think of the quality of jobs the developer is bringing to our town of Hudson. I feel truly so sad for WeepinWidow and the many other like her working for Amazon.