Amazon has, over the past few years, become known as a notoriously bad company to work for. Workers from their fulfillment centers, worldwide, complain of low wages, dangerous working conditions, and a stressful environment that tracks every single move that their employees make, right down to how long it takes them to go to the bathroom. Thanks to this in-depth report from The Guardian, you can go on ahead add the company's refusal to care for their employees in the wake of a workplace injury to the list of reasons to never go to work for Jeff Bezos' crew.
The Guardian frames the report by telling the story of Vickie Shannon Allen: a 49 year-old woman who was employed by Amazon at one of their warehouses in the southern United States. Last year, Allen was injured at work, as the station that she manned was missing a piece of equipment designed to keep the packages she was handling from falling to the floor. With Amazon refusing to resolve the issue, Allen positioned a bin to catch any parcels that might fall and be damaged—she made the mistake of giving a shit. By making the change to her work station, she was forced to stand in a manner that was not as ergonomic as it could be. As a result, over time, she ended up with a back injury. The injury made it difficult to move her arm which, in turn, made it difficult to do her job. Her managers began to send her home on a regular basis as she was unable to keep up with the hectic pace they demanded. She ended up on worker's compensation.
From The Guardian:
Once on workers compensation, Allen started going to physical therapy. In January 2018, she returned to work and injured herself again on the same workstation that still was not fixed.
Allen went back on medical leave and took an additional two weeks of unpaid leave because she didn't have the money to drive to work. In April 2018, an MRI scan showed her back was still injured, but just five days after her diagnosis, she claims Amazon's workers compensation insurer, Sedgwick, had the company doctor drop her as a patient.
"By June 2018, they finally had that station fixed. It took them eight months to put one little brush guard on this station," Allen said. On 2 July, she met with management at the Amazon fulfillment center, who offered her a week of paid leave for the issues she had to deal with over the past nine months.
Given that Allen, due to her lack of employment was now living out of her car at the time that the paltry payment was offered to her, it could have been tempting to take the money, and run. But Here's the shit and giggle part: Amazon would only hand it over to her is Allen agreed to sign off on a contract which stated that she wouldn't bad mouth the company. Enraged by the way she'd been treated, she refused and ended up telling her story to The Guardian.
Allen's not the only one: The Guardian points out that Amazon has been listed by the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health as one of the 12 most dangerous places to work in the United States, citing a number of cases from across the country where Amazon's dangerous working conditions led to its employees being injured and then discarded like so much hot garbage.
Image via Flickr, courtesy of Scott Lewis