Amazon employees share stories of accidents and mistreatment

Amazon employees share stories of accidents and mistreatment

Amazon has come under scrutiny for the awful conditions that some workers say they are forced to work in.

Thirty-one current or recently employed drivers spoke to Business Insider about their experience delivering packages for Amazon.

Among those employees was delivery driver Zachariah Vargus. He says that he was six hours into his shift delivering packages for Amazon when he accidentally slammed the truck door on his fingers. His middle and ring fingers were trapped as soon as the door clicked shut.

He recalls blood pouring from his fingers after he managed to free them. The lacerations were so deep that he thought he caught a glimpse of bone once he had wiped all of the blood away.

Panicked Vargas called his dispatch supervisor - who was working at a nearby Amazon facility - and was heartlessly asked “How many packages do you have to deliver?” Vargus had dozens of undelivered packages but his supervisor told him to finish his deliveries before returning to the depot or seeking medical treatment.

Despite this, Vargus ignored his supervisors’ instruction and headed back to the Amazon facility because there wasn’t a first-aid kit in the truck. Upon arrival, he was mocked by his superiors who sneered: “Are you dying right now? Girls have come back with worse wounds than you.”

“Amazon is watching you. They don’t like when undelivered packages come back,” he recalls being told.

Although Vargus’ case may be an extreme example of poor working conditions, he isn’t the only Amazon employee to find the job cruelly demanding.

Workers "peed in bottles"

Author James Bloodworth, who went undercover at an Amazon warehouse in Staffordshire, told HR Grapevine that workers “peed in bottles” over fear of punishment for taking toilet breaks.

“When I worked at an Amazon warehouse in Britain in 2016, I was even given a disciplinary for taking a day off sick. Along with other workers, I was also accused of 'idling' if I ever took a toilet break,” he said.

Defending company culture: Amazon ambaasor Twitter accounts

With a lot of negative rumours circulating the internet about the working conditions at Amazon, multiple media outlets reported on the up rise of Amazon ambassador accounts that have defended the company’s working conditions. Many have expressed concern about whether these accounts are operated by bots or managed by real and satisfied employees.

However, a company statement defending claims that these accounts were operated by robots. “FC ambassadors are employees who have experience working in our fulfilment centres,” they said.

Looking for more

“It’s important that we do a good job of educating people about the actual environment inside our fulfilment centres, and the FC ambassador program is a big part of that along with the fulfilment centre tours we provide.”

Over the past few weeks, multiple news agencies reported on an initial 16 Amazon Twitter accounts that actively respond to defamatory tweets which describe the mega-retailer’s poor working conditions.

One example of this can be seen on the @AzmazonFCCaleb account which read: "I do a lot of jobs on the floor (replying to tweets is just another one of the jobs I do)."

"Frankly though its not as hard as most people are making it to be. I dont ever see anyone overworked. Gotta say its a good way to be active."

And, it seems that Amazon have received more negative criticism over company culture and poor working conditions – this time about their initial plans to cage employees to improve transportation safety around the warehouse.

Earlier this week, The Sun revealed that Amazon planned to cage employee to avoid being injured by robots moving around the warehouse – which caused public outrage on social media.

Once again, Amazon ambassador’s – warehouse workers who tweet in a PR-related capacity for the company –  took to the internet to defend Amazon’s plans.

From our content partner

One ambassador wrote: “The way that I look at it is that the cage was developed for the safety of the worker in mind. Besides this patent was from a few years ago.”

Since then, Amazon’s Senior Vice President of Operations, Dave Clarke, has taken to Twitter to respond to the swarm of furious comments on social media. He said: “Sometimes even bad ideas get submitted for patents. This was never used and we have no plans for usage.”

 



Have you enjoyed this piece?

Subscribe now to myGrapevine+ and get access to exclusive new content, and the full content archive.

Be the first to comment.

You are currently previewing this article.

This is the last preview available to you for the next 30 days.

To access more news, features, columns and opinions every day, create a free myGrapevine account.