911 Calls Raise Concerns Over Amazon Working Conditions

Discussion in 'HardForum Tech News' started by AlphaAtlas, Mar 11, 2019.

  1. AlphaAtlas

    AlphaAtlas [H]ard|Gawd Staff Member

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    Amazon's warehouses don't have the best reputation as is, but according to a recent article from The Daily Beast, working conditions inside the facilities could be worse than previously thought. The report alleges that, between October 2013 and October 2018, emergency workers were summoned to Amazon warehouses for "suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts, and other mental-health episodes" at least 189 times. The reports only covered a quarter of Amazon's sorting and fulfillment centers across the U.S, and The Daily Beast is quick to point out that the records are "not evidence that Amazon staffers experience suicidal episodes more often than other American workers, in or out of a warehouse," but they clearly imply that harsh conditions are exacerbating existing mental health issues on a large scale.

    Check out some of the 911 calls here.

    The Daily Beast spoke to six current or former Amazon employees who had mental-health crises that required emergency assistance at the warehouse. They said much of their at-work stress stemmed from the performance quota. A former employee in Etna, Ohio, said that it was sometimes physically impossible to stay on pace. "Even if it isn't your fault, they ignore any explanation that you could give." He was constantly fearful that he would receive citations for falling short. "Once you have enough write-ups, you're out the door," he said. "There goes your livelihood... There was a constant sense of, 'did I screw that up, did I screw that up, did I screw that up?'" he said. "[It] stays with you and almost becomes a permanent anxiety."
     
  2. jeffj7

    jeffj7 [H]Lite

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    if your looking to make bucket loads of cash. working for them not so much
     
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  3. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    So it's a stressful place to work.
    If you don't think the pay is worth all the stress, then go get a job somewhere else.
     
  4. YeuEmMaiMai

    YeuEmMaiMai [H]ardForum Junkie

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    they pay well but the work is HARD...
     
  5. Legendary Gamer

    Legendary Gamer Limp Gawd

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    I had a friend that used to do all the maintenance on the Robots out at the Peoria, IL, Amazon Warehouse. I'm not sure what these stories are about but seeing and hearing about the working conditions from a close friend tells me that the people making these calls are pussies. Honestly, the Amazon employees that worked at his location (at least) were incredibly well treated. He (my old friend) was kind of a pussy. He complained about how he didn't like his new boss and quit. Funny thing to note in this scenario, Amazon doesn't do their own Robot maintenance. It's been contracted out nationally. So, only thing he didn't like was making over 100,000 dollars a year, only working 4 days a week... Couldn't even deal with having an incompetent supervisor, so he quit.

    It doesn't matter where you go, you run into idiots everywhere.
     
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  6. PaulP

    PaulP Gawd

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    So, let's parse this out: "not evidence that Amazon staffers experience suicidal episodes more than other American workers, in or out of a warehouse" means they may have the same number (on averages) as other American workers. In other words, normal levels. How then does this "clearly imply that harsh conditions are exacerbating existing mental health issues on a large scale"? If the level of suicidal episodes is not unusual, how can they make this claim? It's just a likely that the cases in their report represent the "normal" background level in our society. Talk about an unwarranted conclusion.
     
  7. greenman

    greenman Gawd

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    Some can't get anything better and have bills. 15/h isn't a lot. Take into consideration that rent alone can be unaffordable, let alone 1 single income if a couple has a child.

    "More jobs" isn't a good thing when it's warehouse jobs such as this. "More quality-jobs" should be the sought-after thing to boost our economy.
     
  8. alxlwson

    alxlwson You Know Where I Live

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    I've worked at Amazon as a picker. Hard work, but I did enjoy it. And the $15.83 I was making as a 18yo teen in 2004/2005 was great money. Lost eleven buckets of weight. Job wasn't depressing by any means andai enjoyedetue challenge of meeting goals. Take your scanner, your buggy/basket, and get to work. Never even dealt with a supervisor unless I was slacking.

    A couple years ago, I interviewed with the maintenance group for the automation side of things. Great pay, awesome opportunities, amazing benefit package, clean workplace with climate control, and all the other tech's I spoke with had been there many years and loved the job. Turned it down because second shift.

    It really does sound like a bunch of panty waisted millennial crap. Having goals to meet and a job to do must be tough for them.
     
  9. Elios

    Elios [H]ardness Supreme

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    its not just that its that the quotas are at the limit of what a person can reasonable do and require near perfection which is bullshit for what they pay people its like call centers and crates very high turnover
     
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  10. Elios

    Elios [H]ardness Supreme

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    OR maybe in the last 14 years do the growth of Amazon the quotas are MUCH higher then they where
     
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  11. kju1

    kju1 2[H]4U

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    I think that depend son what job youre talking about. From my perspective amazon has a shitty salary and benefit package. They offered me a job last year and I just laughed at their offer. This was for a highly technical job that would have me working 60hrs a week. I went to another company and got an offer at twice the rate amazon offered and significantly better benefits.

    One of their "major" pluses (as their recruiter put it) was their employee discount because "amazon has everything! why would you shop elsewhere?". 10% with a limit of 1k/year is bullshit. Sure more than I spend at amazon but its bullshit compensation when I can easily get an offer of double the salary and benefit package elsewhere...
     
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  12. sirmonkey1985

    sirmonkey1985 [H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010

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    considering they're probably hiring the bottom 25% of the workforce that can't get a job anywhere else is anyone really surprised that a lot of these people have mental issues?

    yeah their offers are pretty mediocre across the board. for shits and giggles i tried applying for basically the same position i have at my current work for the warehouse they're opening here later this year. offered me 10k a year less while still having to work 50-60h a week.. yeah no thanks i like my 40h work weeks. some one else that's desperate for the money can have that job.

    but don't get me wrong, while the pay may suck it's not a bad gig if you're coming out of college and need the resume experience to move on to a better job, it's just not worth it if you already have that experience though.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
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  13. Kardonxt

    Kardonxt 2[H]4U

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    A huge problem noone addresses is the number of employees that are incapable of doing more than menial tasks. I didn't understand how useless the "average" person was until I worked for a quality control company as a teenager. The amount of workers who can't even pickup an item and put the item in a container (the very obvious and only way it fits) is absolutely astounding.

    "More quality-jobs" is a great ideal, but does little good when you don't have a quality workforce to fill them.
     
  14. Oldmodder

    Oldmodder Gawd

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    There is a reason there are no Amazon fulfillment centers on +10 floor.
     
  15. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianna-jace-crouch-133a9114b/

    So, I don't mean to disparage this person in any way but I have to call it as I see it. This is a young person, finished high school, has one year of higher ed, "Special Education and Teaching", an admirable goal, but not a degree yet I think. Started out working the kinds of jobs most teenagers and young people do, mostly minimum wage, and now works in a demanding production environment where the clock does really matter.

    No one should take this as me beating up on someone, but perhaps this person is a reasonably intelligent and good hearted person, who is facing a more demanding work experience for the first time. What's more, this job is not anything related to what looks to be her chosen career field and that is a problem as well.

    Now for a more light hearted evaluation of an anonymous person's comment;



    Just to add;
    One of my earliest jobs was working at a sheet metal shop. That was work, it was strenuous, time was money, and we frequently worked longer days, sometimes for longer weeks, in order to get the job in on time. Being late on a contracted construction job can cost a company penalties, while finishing early might earn a bonus.

    Temperatures over 120 degrees in an attic, insulation and other stuff floating around to be breathed into your lungs, embed itself in your skin, fumes from welding, soldiering, solvents, glues, etc .... none pleasant, well the glue wasn't so bad at least until you get the headaches after. Slicing yourself on the metal, busting your thumb with a hammer, broken bones from falling off ladders, cracking your head on a joist, the risks and pains were real. These things were common to almost all construction work .... well I think it's a little easier for electricians.

    So for me, when I hear these complaints coming from workers in Amazon warehouses and match that up with videos of humans working closely with robots ............ I have a hard time making these add up the same.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2019
  16. rhexis

    rhexis Gawd

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    how hard can it be packing boxes? we used to send children into the coal mines for 14 hours a day no 911 calls back then.
     
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  17. kju1

    kju1 2[H]4U

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    Well the average person is being told that they are entitled to high pay for menial tasks. That they are entitled to have their basic needs met no matter what job they do or dont work (depending on which politician is talking). There is literally zero incentive for them to become better...
     
  18. iamjanco

    iamjanco Limp Gawd

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    ...meanwhile, you're wondering why they put so few of those blow up baggies in the boxes they ship your hard drives in.
     
  19. mullet

    mullet [H]ard|Gawd

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    You ask around (plumbers, electricians, metal fab, welders, tilers, brick masons, marine docks-seawall installers) they will all tell you they can't find kids/young adults that will work, can't handle the physical part, can't stay off the phone, no valid drivers license, no drive to learn and move up.......... I could go on and on, I am a Gen-Xer we grew up with work, hard work. Hard work is good for the soul and character building. I am speaking generally, there is an exception to EVERY rule.
     
  20. sirmonkey1985

    sirmonkey1985 [H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010

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    110% agree.. i put a lot of the blame on the educational system be it public or private.. they push kids to go to college to get these degrees in fields that either don't exist or have super limited availability instead of giving them the entire picture of whats available out there and what the potential income level is for those jobs(my sister ended up being a victim of this, spent 4 years in college with 70k dollars of debt for a degree that ended up no longer existing as a job opportunity by the time she finished).. if you put a pamphlet in front of a kid and showed what their starting pay and what they could make 3/5/10/15 years down the road for the top 25 paying careers are and tell them that most of those jobs only require 18-24 months at a tech/career college instead of a degree from a 4 year university i guarantee they'd become plumbers, electricians, etc.. but they don't. hell even i'm guilty of it, i could of easy become an electrician or plumber but no one told me when i was younger how much money you could be making doing those jobs or that they didn't require me going to a 4 year college, i had always thought they were low paying insanely long hours and there was no way to move up in those careers so i never bothered with it.
     
  21. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Perhaps my life as a kid had an impact on my willingness to accept work like this as normal. I grew up on a farm, did chores, cut down weeds 6' tall in the neighbor's field for extra money, etc. If all I had ever done was play games and go to school, and if my father never came home beat or hurt from a hard day of work running a sheet metal shop, which besides money, earned him a stomach ulcer, broken hip, and many other scars, perhaps I too would see work in an Amazon warehouse as a "colony of hell".
     
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  22. Night_Hawk-19

    Night_Hawk-19 Gawd

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    Either way when a place has high turnover then its often place to avoid.
     
  23. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Not always, sometimes high turnover is just the nature of the beast. We have high turnover, four on the team with 3 or more years each, everyone else is new, no others stay more than a few months. It's decent IT work, but it's on an Army base outside of a little town over an hour from Tucson. Single people, younger people, they don't want to stay here. They will gladly accept the job as their first position coming off of active military duty, but they leave as soon as they find better, and better is a lively larger city, and more money, even if it comes with a higher cost of living.
     
  24. magoo

    magoo [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Ill bet most of those calls were on the first day or two back to work after days off and never on Friday.

    Hard work is hard.
     
  25. kju1

    kju1 2[H]4U

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    I never wanted to be a plumber or electrician even though I knew they could earn a lot (one has to only look at what your parents paid to have something fixed to figure that out!) Manual labor didnt appeal to me as a long term career goal. I always wanted to do more than just "good enough".

    I grew up with chores unlike many of my peers. My parents quickly told me if I wanted something beyond the meals they provided, clothing, and whatever I needed for school that I needed to purchase it myself. That means I paid for every game and every time I ate out instead of at home. In order to keep me focused on school my chores were "paid" to allow me the ability to work for those things but not at a real job that might interfere with school. Example washing dishes was a quarter, moving the lawn was a few dollars etc.

    This is exactly why I left Sierra Vista all those years ago. I was single and not too far out of college. The team was great and so was the work but the lack of a life outside of work just took its toll. There were few people my own age (and fewer still of those were women). I couldn't get many of the things I wanted (ethnic foods, etc) and I was bored a lot after work.
     
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  26. Design1stcode2nd

    Design1stcode2nd Gawd

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    Or just get a job doing cybersecurity. Work smarter not harder.

    I agree that there are many trades you can make good money. My brother does well owning his own remodeling business but he works a lot of hours and it's hard on his body. He just turned 50 and I'm not sure how much longer he'll be able to do it. Where I work in an IT related office, can easily work until I'm 65 if I want to.

    You also have to factor in total compensation a lot of trades you need to pay your own medical, leave is unpaid unless you are working for a shop, hospital or something like that.
     
  27. sirmonkey1985

    sirmonkey1985 [H]ard|DCer of the Month - July 2010

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    Work smarter not harder... cough cough management.. doesn't get much easier than that, lol. especially this day and age because no one wants to take the initiative to move up from where they are in a company so there's little to no competition to keep the position.
     
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  28. oROEchimaru

    oROEchimaru [H]ardness Supreme

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    Taking my head out of the sand... some of the amazon work places are nuts where employees are penalized for going to the bathroom, pee in jugs throughout the warehouse, fired for basic needs (Sick days etc). Amazon can be a shit hole but a good starting job.
     
  29. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    All true, but unless one is fortunate enough to gain higher education before their working years begin, they will have to start somewhere, and it is frequently not much more than a minimum wage paying job. Most of us have "been there, done that". We rarely get to start at the top, or anywhere above the bottom.

    But getting back to this article, I read several of the "suicide" related 911 calls and I am struck by a common theme, a great many of the ones quoted were complaining of problems outside of work. A woman who was being fired ha nothing to live for without her job. Some had issues outside of work but work is where they finally snapped. But we all know that suicide is most frequently a call for help. Doesn't do much good to call for help where no one can hear you. You work in a big building with a lot of people, tick that box, "I have an audience, someone will hear me". What this article really tells me is that there are a lot of people out there that are having troubles, which actually doesn't surprise me. And because Amazon operates a nation-wide chain of warehouses that employ a whole lot of people, troubled people announcing their troubles doesn't surprise me either.
     
  30. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Not that this was a good thing, and I know you didn't mean it that way, but you are correct.

    Everything is relative.
     
  31. greenman

    greenman Gawd

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    I understand your point, but again: Rent alone can be unaffordable, let alone 1 single income if a couple has a child. This has nothing to do with teenage work or slacker workers who do the minimum not to get fired. I've worked with incapable slackers before, many of which were gen X and prior, not even Y or Z. There's good workers and bad everywhere, it doesn't mean that everyone should have a bad job.

    Yeah a warehouse $15 an hour job is good for a teenager who wants a new iPhone. The awkward thing is that most people who work these jobs aren't teenagers because they can't find any better jobs. Plus, many teenagers who do work can't even grow to become a homeowner by the time that gen X people were able to become homeowners, regardless of work ethics.
     
  32. Zamboni

    Zamboni [H]ard|Gawd

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    But at the same time they'll continue to hire the kids because they're cheaper than hiring experienced workers. I've found that any resume with a decent amount of experience on it usually goes straight into the trash can, especially if they don't come with that sweet state-funded retraining subsidy.

    (I had one company tell me they were specifically looking for workers with no interest in being trained or moving up. Anyone who admits to experience or education never makes it past the phone interview.)
     
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  33. SamuelL421

    SamuelL421 Limp Gawd

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    Likewise, I grew up working on a farm and later briefly working in rural factory while I was working through college. The "suicidal" conditions certainly don't seem like that from my perspective. Try working a 10 hour day outside, in freezing rain and get back to me.

    I've met plenty of lazy people at work, some young, some old, some male, some female. I have never noticed a trend.

    I think your other point, about the housing, gets to the core of this. Regardless of the specific figure or amount of pay, people get hopeless when they can't get ahead. Housing is certainly a big a part of that, no one wants to be renting or having to commute long distance between affordable housing and regions with decent jobs (and astronomical housing costs). Likewise, people do not want to be accumulating debt to afford healthcare, or trying to attain education that costs a multiple of the expected salary upon graduation. I think, in general, things aren't so good for lower and middle class people in the US right now. You can point the finger at Amazon, but you would find just as many similar incidents of people in grim circumstances at any large company.
     
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  34. masquap

    masquap Limp Gawd

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    Foxcon probably have some spare nets though
     
  35. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    If you can't get anything better, then you are doing something wrong.
    Since Amazon doesn't seem to have any problems finding people to fill these jobs, the pay must be enough.
    If the job was that bad, and the pay that low, they wouldn't be able to fill the positions.

    As for single income and a child, my wife and I managed this in the very expensive southern California area.
    We live in a upper-middle class area, in a nice house with a view, yet I barely make more than the median wage.
    I know neighbors, with both parents working, who pull down 3 times what I make, yet they have trouble making ends meet.

    But, we made smart decisions. We both got an education. We both worked and saved before we got married.
    Then we made sure we could afford a kid on one salary before having one.
    Once we had a kid, she either didn't work, or did low wage part time work while they where in school.
    Yes, money was tight, we drive older cars, we didn't go on any long vacations for the first several years, and we rarely eat out.
     
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  36. nutzo

    nutzo [H]ardness Supreme

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    It's unfair that you had mean parents that prepared you for the real world :p
     
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  37. greenman

    greenman Gawd

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    You made smart decisions and they paid off. God forbid something happens in life and you're no longer in the "I made smart decisions and they're paying off" state. It's precisely the point, the majority of the country isn't getting a proper education to consciously made the right choices and set themselves up, and even if they did they fall into something eventually at one point. So then "if you can't get anything better, then you are doing something wrong" really doesn't apply here at all.
     
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  38. RealBeast

    RealBeast Gawd

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    This is just so sad.

    Okay, enough pity party time -- get your asses back to shipping me all the cheap shit that I buy from Amazon. ;)
     
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  39. lcpiper

    lcpiper [H]ardForum Junkie

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    So I have to step in here and say something and it's not going to be popular, but it's the truth, even it it sounds unfair for some.

    Mother's are not supposed to be going it alone and neither are fathers.

    Families are not supposed to be going it alone, kids have parents, and they have grandparents.

    Americans have been doing many things wrong for a very long time. It's why we have kids with single parents, young couples dislocated from their families, grand-parents unable to help their kids, etc.

    And Americans need to get this through their heads and rebuild the family structure from oldest to youngest.

    The longer we wait to do these things the longer we will suffer for it.

    Strong families are strong, what's even more, communities are stronger still.

    What Americans don't like, is having to commit to something beyond themselves. It comes with a price they don't want to pay.
     
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  40. maxz01

    maxz01 Limp Gawd

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    Thank you kindly for posting this. You helped ease my anxiety and allowed me to feel good about my life. Contemplating the misery of other people makes me feel content and grateful.
     
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