Amazon diaries: fulfillment center speed-ups and factory conditions

Credit Karma EllisDee25
Nov 21, 2018 15 Comments

“When you recognize that we are what keeps Amazon going, and the most important part of the business, putting us at the top of the pyramid is right. Workers – whether the engineers or the hundreds of thousands of warehouse employees – are the backbone of the business and the source of astounding wealth. Without us there is no Amazon Prime, no advertising revenue, no streaming video, no HQ2.

However, the pyramid analogy is also fitting because at the time this place feels like a pyramid scheme. After a few months at the company, it becomes clear to most of us that management doesn’t regard us a crucial contributors to its success. In reality, they treat us like disposable parts.”

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/nov/21/our-new-column-from-inside-amazon-they-treat-us-as-disposable?

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TOP 15 Comments
  • Pinterest / Other nLIz13
    Shocking discovery: low skilled labor is replaceable
    Nov 21, 2018 3
    • Credit Karma EllisDee25
      OP
      As individuals yes. That’s part of the point made by the article - employees are treated as machines.

      But are they valuable? How would it impact Amazon if they all went on strike after black Monday through Mid-December?
      Nov 21, 2018
    • Amazon / Eng
      onMyWay

      Amazon Eng

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      onMyWaymore
      It might delay deliveries, but the orders take place online.

      That’d require some organizing (which doesn’t exist) and for there to not be a population of people that would jump at a $15/hr job
      Nov 21, 2018
    • Credit Karma EllisDee25
      OP
      Yes, it would require organizing.
      Nov 21, 2018
  • Amazon JefLeppard
    The members of Blind are part of a privileged class and it is our responsibility to take articles like this seriously, with compassion, and as a call to action.

    The “people are disposable” / “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” is just more Oliver Twist rhetoric.

    Amazon is a corporate realization of an Orwellian dystopia wherein the Outer Party (you) is not a government agency but part of a new centralized corporate economy.
    Nov 21, 2018 3
    • Amazon / Eng
      onMyWay

      Amazon Eng

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      onMyWaymore
      You realize us engineers and accountants are no different than those warehouse workers. When amazon can, it’ll get rid of us as well.

      We just offer greater value than the warehouse workers do, at the moment
      Nov 21, 2018
    • Amazon JefLeppard
      Agreed this community is higher up in the (not inverted) triangle
      Nov 21, 2018
    • Credit Karma EllisDee25
      OP
      I’d argue that warehouse workers are just more taylorized (tasks broken down to prevent specialization) and replaceable, not that they add less value (a wonderfully programmed app for a company that can’t actually deliver the product is not valuable).

      But otherwise I agree, well paid workers are still workers in the end. Tech was expanding rapidly and needed people so wages were high but these circumstances are not permanent.
      Nov 21, 2018
  • Amazon / Eng
    onMyWay

    Amazon Eng

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    onMyWaymore
    Also, human capital is almost always the largest cost center. Every company, especially large ones, view employees as disposable.

    Employees view companies as disposable
    Nov 21, 2018 6
    • Amazon / Eng
      onMyWay

      Amazon Eng

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      onMyWaymore
      Yup, but they’ll jump jobs as soon as possible if they can get a better one.

      A job is a means to an income for 99% of people, nothing more
      Nov 21, 2018
    • Credit Karma EllisDee25
      OP
      Yeah I’m not arguing that people should love their employer, so I’m not sure what your point is.

      But “nothing more” than income for most people is all they have to keep their apartment or house etc.
      Nov 21, 2018
    • Amazon / Eng
      onMyWay

      Amazon Eng

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      onMyWaymore
      I’m saying in the same way the employer views the employee as disposable, the employee views the employee as disposable. I’m not sure why we’re surprised to hear the employee does indeed see employees as disposable
      Nov 21, 2018
    • Credit Karma EllisDee25
      OP
      But this is an asymmetric equivalency. An individual employee who quits costs the company a minor training cost, catch-up time but the company keeps going - mostly because work is organized to prevent any single wage-earner from derailing the company. But not having a wage is a huge hardship for an individual employee.

      That’s why to create some semblance of symmetry, employees need to organize more generally.
      Nov 21, 2018
    • Amazon / Eng
      onMyWay

      Amazon Eng

      BIO
      AWS
      onMyWaymore
      That’s why more than one employee exists, right? You’d have a point if they were locked into a single employer.
      Nov 22, 2018