Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Bosses Blinkers

1.     April 2001: The Guardian: UK workforce attacks Amazon: Biggest online store accused over wages and conditions.
2.      December 2008: Times of London: Amazon UK accused of sweatshop conditions.
3.      September 2011: The Morning Call: Lehigh Valley workers tell of brutal heat, dizzying pace at online retailer.
4.      November 2013: BBC: Amazon workers face 'increased risk of mental illness.'
5.      August 2015: New York Times: Amazon: conducting an experiment in how far it can push white-collar workers.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s mandarin declares “This isn't the Amazon I know.”

Of course, it isn’t the Amazon he knows. It is the Amazon his workers know. The Bezos' of the world, in their unfettered thirst for profit, never see what their workers see. It isn't the Amazon Bezos knows because, to a large extent, he doesn't know what it means to be a worker for the real Amazon.

Amazon has long resisted efforts to unionize its workforce, both in the U.S. and abroad. This battle is still ongoing. In the UK, the G.M.B union which is seeking to recruit some of the roughly seven thousand people who work at Amazon’s U.K. distribution centers, accused the company of treating its staff like “robots” and imposing work conditions that often lead to physical and mental illness. A survey of Amazon staff, which found that seventy-one per cent of them reported walking more than ten miles a day at work, seventy per cent felt they were given disciplinary points unfairly, and eighty-nine per cent felt exploited. Larry Elliott, the Guardian’s economics editor, reminded his readers that  unions “were originally formed as a response to exploitation by 19th century mill owners.” He added that, by “keeping a cowed workforce under the lash with non-stop pressure, bullying and psychological warfare, Bezos is the 21st century equivalent.”

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