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Fri Nov 23, 2012, 09:35 AM

Lest we forget people fill our online shopping orders...

...it is worth a look at what pickers who fill online orders deal with each day.

This Mother Jones article from March/April 2012 is worth another read.


"The gal conducting our training reminds us again that we cannot miss any days our first week. There are NO exceptions to this policy. She says to take Brian, for example, who's here with us in training today. Brian already went through this training, but then during his first week his lady had a baby, so he missed a day and he had to be fired. Having to start the application process over could cost a brand-new dad like Brian a couple of weeks' worth of work and pay. Okay? Everybody turn around and look at Brian. Welcome back, Brian. Don't end up like Brian."

"Lunch is not 30 minutes and 1 second"—that's a penalty-point-earning offense—and that includes the time to get through the metal detectors and use the disgustingly overcrowded bathroom—the suggestion board hosts several pleas that someone do something about that smell—and time to stand in line to clock out and back in. So we chew quickly, and are often still chewing as we run back to our stations."

"...how my body hurts after failing to make my goals despite speed-walking or flat-out jogging and pausing every 20 or 30 seconds to reach on my tiptoes or bend or drop to the floor for 10.5 hours.......and when I was hired I signed off on something acknowledging that anyone who leaves without at least a week's notice—whether because they're a journalist who will just walk off or because they miss a day for having a baby and are terminated—has their hours paid out not at their hired rate but at the legal minimum. Which in this state, like in lots of states, is about $7 an hour...my 10.5-hour day I'll make about $60 after taxes."

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Reply Lest we forget people fill our online shopping orders... (Original post)
spedtr90 Nov 2012 OP
likesmountains 52 Nov 2012 #1
CrispyQ Nov 2012 #2
CrispyQ Nov 2012 #3
Enrique Nov 2012 #4
BlancheSplanchnik Nov 2012 #5
Luminous Animal Nov 2012 #6

Response to spedtr90 (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 10:34 AM

1. I can't recommend this article enough.

It really was shocking to read how people are treated in those warehouses.

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Response to spedtr90 (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 10:49 AM

2. I'm only half way through this article & I'm already sickened by how inhumane

Last edited Fri Nov 23, 2012, 11:21 AM - Edit history (1)

their treatment of their employees is!

The Bureau of Labor Statistics found that more than 15 percent of pickers, packers, movers, and unloaders are temps. They make $3 less an hour on average than permanent workers. And they can be "temporary" for years. There are so many temps in this warehouse that the staffing agency has its own office here.

This is just wrong.

Off to finish it.

on edit:


Indeed, and I'm working for a gigantic, immensely profitable company. Or for the staffing company that works for that company, anyway. Which is a nice arrangement, because temporary-staffing agencies keep the stink of unacceptable labor conditions off the companies whose names you know. When temps working at a Walmart warehouse sued for not getting paid for all their hours, and for then getting sent home without pay for complaining, Walmart—not technically their employer—wasn't named as a defendant . (Though Amazon has been named in a similar suit.) Temporary staffers aren't legally entitled to decent health care because they are just short-term "contractors" no matter how long they keep the same job. They aren't entitled to raises, either, and they don't get vacation and they'd have a hell of a time unionizing and they don't have the privilege of knowing if they'll have work on a particular day or for how long they'll have a job. And that is how you slash prices and deliver products superfast and offer free shipping and still post profits in the millions or billions.

An excellent article for those who think because they are shopping Amazon instead of Walmart their choice is any better.

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Response to spedtr90 (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 11:40 AM

3. Thank you so much for posting this.

Everyone should read this article. Everyone.

I vow to make a better effort at minimizing my consumerism.

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Response to spedtr90 (Original post)

Fri Nov 23, 2012, 11:53 AM

4. well-written article

i'm sure a good number of DUers have personally experienced working in these conditions, I know I have, in various call centers.

This little snippet made me laugh out loud:

"What if I want to vote?" I ask a supervisor. "I think you should!" he says. "But if I leave I'll get fired," I say. To which he makes a sad face before saying, "Yeah."

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