The horrible conditions in speed warehouses

John Oliver on Last Week Tonight exposes the horrible conditions in the warehouses that serve companies that seek to make speed of delivery the main selling point, because that results on demands on the workers who have to rush around to fulfill those orders. Amazon is of course the gorilla in the business, driving up the demands on its workers to the breaking point while at the same time fighting their efforts to unionize.

Amazon owner Jeff Bezos is basically gorging off the pain and misery of Amazon’s workers to make himself obscenely wealthy. While unions are great, you should not even need unions to stop this level of abuse. The government should set minimum standards for working conditions that would deal with it. Of course, the one-percenters will fight any regulations in order to preserve their ‘right’ to squeeze every cent of profit from workers, irrespective of the damage it does to their bodies and minds.

You should read some of the comments to the video from people who have worked in those warehouses and testify to the accuracy of Oliver’s depiction of the conditions.

Dave Clark, Amazon’s Senior Vice President of Worldwide Operations, was quick to respond, saying that Oliver’s piece was ‘insulting’ to Amazon workers. But while praising the workers, he did not challenge the facts of Oliver’s piece.


  1. jrkrideau says

    Video not available in Canada but I read a good number of the comments at DEADlNE in the link you provided.

    Sounds like the show got most or everything right.

    Quite a few unsympathetic comments of the “get a another job” type. Sure, great idea, but none the idiots seemed to know just how to go about it or seemed to realize that not everone has the flexibility to do so.

    It kind of reminded me of a similar comment on another blog where a commentor suggested moving to get a better job. As I pointed out a lot of poeple in US CBP or ICE custody were trying.

  2. jrkrideau says

    Oh, I forgot perhaps the stupidest, most heartless and vile comment.

    Of course it’s not living wage, and it shouldn’t be. People can’t expect to make a living off of jobs that anybody could do, the more easily replaceable you are the less incentive to pay you more. It doesn’t make a company greedy it’s just common sense.

    The are some really vile people out there.

  3. says

    “If they had they would have met the amazing people who work in our operations. People whose passion and commitment are what makes the Amazon customer experience special. I am proud of our team and to suggest they would work in an environment like the one portrayed is insulting.”

    The reality is that workers who do shitty jobs are neither committed nor passionate. They usually hate their jobs more than anything else in the world. It’s not “commitment” or “passion” that motivates a person to do an awful job for $15 per hour. Instead it’s desperation, and these workers still haven’t quit their jobs just because they have few other alternatives, none of which are any better.

  4. Matt G says

    Even if “anyone” could do the job, SOMEBODY has to or the company couldn’t function. If it isn’t person X, it’s person Y. The question then becomes: “how should that person be treated?”.

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