December 9, 2014

Working at Amazon is Better than Being Homeless

I recently read this article : 'Being homeless is better than working for Amazon'

I"m sure that articles title is purposefully sensationalized to attract attention.    But no, sorry, working at Amazon isn't worse than being homeless. 

Points the article makes :
"Superb performance did not guarantee job security."
 Thats actually true at most jobs really.

" it would be six months before I could receive my first unemployment compensation check."
I don't know why.   Shouldn't take 6 months and thats not under the control of the employer.   Is there more to this story?  What?

" I “flew a sign,” street parlance for panhandling with a piece of cardboard: ... I went to my usual flying spots around Seattle and made more money per hour protesting Amazon with my sign than I did while I worked with them. ... I created carefully crafted signs with cardboard and a Sharpie and, just like that, I was making money again. Hundred-dollar hours became the norm, not the exception."

I bolded the bits above for emphasis.   What this woman is really doing is begging for money and getting apparently quite a lot of it in Seattle.    Thats not "being homeless" thats being a professional panhandler with a successful gimmick.
I think this is the actual story here:   Being a panhandler in Seattle who complains about Amazon is very lucrative.

I'm not saying that I think working in an Amazon warehouse is fun or that they treat their workers well.   I have no personal experience working in Amazon nor do I know anyone who does.   There have been several reports describing the working condition in their warehouses and it doesn't sound fun (see several links in this article).   A lot of that seems to be basically saying that working in an Amazon warehouse picking orders is a pretty crappy job.  Its hot or freezing, its boring, they have mandatory overtime or send you home when theres no work.  its exhausting tough work, they will fire you if you're late too many times, they demand performance quotas, etc.   A lot of that is not so much about Amazon but more the nature of the job of working in a warehouse picking orders.

The 3000+ reviews of Amazon on Glassdoor give it a 3.3 score which they put in the 'OK' category.   So Amazon as a whole doesn't seem to be either a great nor an awful place to work, but simply well... OK.      Its also important, I think, to note that a lot of the people in the warehouses seem to work for temp agencies rather than Amazon itself.   While Amazon is responsible for managing those temp agencies they aren't directly at fault for poor treatment of temp employees working for a third party.


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