On the August 12 Planning Board meeting, Hillwood announced that the tenant for proposed buildings A & B would be Amazon. Most people love Amazon for its quick and easy purchase and delivery of goods. In order to achieve their promise for two day free shipping, Amazon runs an efficient supply chain. One key element of this efficiency are Amazon's people. So what does it look like a day in the life of an Amazon distribution center floor worker?
A Day in the Life
Each day, an Amazon employee, or Amazonian as full-time workers are called, will enter the warehouse expecting a 12-hour workday with minimum breaks to total 60 hours of work by the end of the week. Depending on the position, they can end up walking a total of 15 to 20 miles per day (1). Workers are always meant to stay at their station except for their 15 or 30 minute break. They are not allowed to sit without proof of medical reason and there is no reason to leave your station, as runners will bring anything you need that isn’t already at your desk. There is never more than a second that they will not be packing boxes, as runners guarantee each station remains stocked (2).
Amazon has been under the radar of many people, especially the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), for below average working conditions in the distribution centers (3). This is based on OSHA reports that state that the injury rates at Amazon is three times the national average for distribution centers. Amazon employees are at constant risk for injuries, due to the high quotas they are expected to reach to ensure that Amazon can send out millions of packages at high rates (4).
Many other issues are also being brought up by employees at these distribution centers. Amazon workers, and most other distribution center workers, call for proper 30-minute breaks, more reliable public transit to the distribution center since many workers cannot afford a car, and appropriate accommodations for disabilities (3).
Amazon and Coronavirus Safety
More recently, Amazon had been under fire during the initial outbreak of the Coronavirus for not ensuring the safety of its workers. On Staten Island, NY, there was a large issue surrounding the working conditions of their Amazon distribution centers. The workers staged a walkout stating that the company was not showing concern for their physical well-being (3). They stated that Amazon should be closing the facility for a minimum of two weeks when any one employee tests positive for COVID-19, along with a deep clean before sending workers back.
Although this article focused on Amazon distribution centers, these problems are not just unique to them. Other employees from luxury resale platform, TheRealReal, and Ralph Lauren have also felt unsafe (5) working in their company's distribution centers. Many of these distribution centers cause harm to employees and those living in the area around them.