Amazon’s Worker Tracking System Can Automatically Fire Employees
Ron Perillo / 4 years ago
Amazon’s Draconian Work Culture Under Spotlight (Again)
Online retail giant Amazon and their treatment of employees has been a controversial subject for many years now. While it does not drive employees to suicide as often as Foxconn at their highest (which required installation of nets), the amount of worker complaints coming from Amazon’s warehouses are nonetheless quite staggering.
Most recently, The Verge discovered that the company actually has a worker tracking system that can terminate workers automatically. The system also tracks workers “time off task”, which measures all break times. Some workers even forego going to the bathroom and urinate in bottles, in order to maintain quota.
Perhaps it is a testament to Jeff Bezos’ commitment to efficiency. However, it is a damning indictment of how they treat their employees.
Workers in Amazon’s fulfillment centers are often expected to pack hundreds of boxes per hour. If they fail to make rate, they are fired automatically. In fact, according to uncovered filings, a single facility between August 2017 and September 2018 has fired hundreds of workers.
What Does Amazon Say About This?
Amazon does not deny this either, and has confirmed it with Business Insider.
“Approximately 300 employees turned over in Baltimore related to productivity in this timeframe. In general, the number of employee terminations have decreased over the last two years at this facility as well as across North America,” says the Amazon spokesperson.
Is There a Way for Workers to Push Back?
Amazon is quick to point out their higher pay offerings and benefits. Which even include better parental leave benefits than other companies. However, they are apparently quick to revoke benefits to those who do not meet their strenuous standard.
Last year, workers at their Minnesota facility organized protests. Citing insufficient breaks, including those with religious requirements. At the same time, a New York facility announced unionization efforts. Amazon has since continued to fight any efforts to unionize. Stating that they felt it “could best address employees’ concerns by maintaining a direct connection” with them.