[Joe Piette, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons]

Amazon Slapped By Federal Government

For much of this decade, warehouse employees at Amazon have said that their working conditions are unsafe. Many have complained that they are often risking injury as they rush to fill packages and get them to the homes of Prime customers in less than two days. 

CNBC writes, “While Amazon claims its injury rate is coming down, facility-level data released last month from the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration underscores worker concerns, showing that in 2022 Amazon laborers were injured at a rate of 6.9 for every 100. In January, OSHA investigators cited Amazon for ‘failing to keep workers safe.’

Industrywide numbers for last year won’t be released until November, but OSHA head Doug Parker said Amazon has a history of injury rates that are far higher than others in the warehouse category. In 2021, Amazon’s injury rate was almost 1.5 times the industry average. At some Amazon warehouse locations, Parker said, the rate was as high as 12 workers out of 100.

‘That’s more than 10% of the workforce every year who are receiving injuries on the job that are serious enough that they have to take time away from their jobs,’ Parker said, regarding those warehouses. ‘We know that it’s affecting thousands of workers and it’s very alarming.’

An Amazon spokesperson said in an email that the ‘pace of work’ isn’t referenced in any of OSHA’s citations. But the Southern District of New York’s investigations at six warehouses cited pace of work as an issue. And three states — New York, California, and Washington — have passed legislation seeking to curtail the use of productivity quotas at Amazon warehouses.” 

CNBC recently interviewed workers who say working for Amazon can sometimes be a nightmare. 

Last November, for Black Friday, Amazon workers and activists in 30 countries participated in a series of walkouts and protests to demand better pay and working conditions.

“In Manhattan, activists, labor unions and Amazon workers marched outside company founder Jeff Bezos’ penthouse in the tony Flatiron district,” according to CBS News.

“Outside St. Louis, a few dozen workers walked out of the massive STL8 facility on Friday afternoon. It’s the second wildcat strike at the 900,000-square-foot fulfillment center, where workers also picketed in September to protest pay and working conditions. Workers at the location are calling for a raise of $10 an hour and the improvement of working conditions they say lead to too many workers being injured on the job.

The groups involved with the campaign are promoting it on Twitter under the hashtag #MakeAmazonPay. They have a range of demands. Many are asking for increased pay, an end to worker surveillance and a pace of work conducive to an above-average rate of workplace injuries.”

That same month, a federal judge “ordered Amazon to stop retaliating against employees participating in workplace activism. The ruling came in a court case brought by the National Labor Relations Board, which sued Amazon in March seeking the reinstatement of a fired employee who was involved in organizing the company’s Staten Island warehouse.”

[Read More: Protestors Go After Luxury Brand HQ In France]