The day after Amazon defeated the unionizing effort in Bessemer, Alabama, I closed my Prime account and stopped shopping at Whole Foods.
Like many of my friends, I decided I can no longer support a company that has a long track record of creating intolerable working conditions and acting like a bully with its thousands of online sellers.
The problem is local, too: Amazon has recently become the largest private employer in New Jersey.
Because of its success, Amazon can pay at least $15 an hour to entry-level warehouse workers and provide good benefits. But this good comes at a steep price. Based upon interviews with 145 employees at Amazon’s Staten Island fulfillment center in 2019, the New York Committee for Occupational Safety and Health found that “workers experience harmful working conditions and a workplace culture that prioritizes line speeds over human safety.” Workers have to carry a scanner everywhere they go, recording their rate and GPS location; they are incentivized to work at speeds that are unsafe, leading to injuries and illness. They are allowed only one mistake for every 2,220 items picked. Not surprisingly, Amazon’s injury rate is more than double the national average.
It’s obvious why Amazon has poured all its resources into defeating unionization efforts, and the fear of losing a job is a powerful incentive to vote against a union. What I, and I hope many others will do, is vote with the mouse to delete Amazon from our lives.