Disciplinary notices: but what happened in this Amazon warehouse?

Alexander Boero

July 12, 2022 at 3:40 p.m.



The American warehouse in Staten Island has been the scene of 13,000 disciplinary notices, which testify to the intense surveillance of which the employees are victims.

If today unionization has made its entry into certain American Amazon warehouses, the documents consulted by Reuters and disclosed by the giant following a legal case show the extent to which the company’s workers can be abused, subjected to intense pressure and benefit from a right to error that is ultimately almost nil, or even non-existent.

Reprimands addressed to employees when they are just below the expected productivity

In response to a complaint from the Amazon Labor Union (ALU), the independent professional union created in 2021 and dedicated to company employees, Amazon had to unveil documents related to the dismissal of an emblematic employee of the company. This is Gerald Bryson, co-founder of the movement and fired ” illegally “, according to justice, by the firm in 2020.

Internal documents testify to the very regular measurements of employee performance made by Amazon, which studied their activities in great detail and could even reprimand employees who were just a little below expectations. Gerald Bryson, for example, learned that he would be fired from the Staten Island (New York) warehouse, one of Amazon’s largest, if he made six or more mistakes in a year in counting products. .

Between April 2019 and April 2020, when Bryson was fired, documents provided by Amazon show 13,000 disciplinary notices issued against employees at the sole Staten Island site, which at the time had 5,300 souls . Some were, for example, drawn up for an employee who had only reached ” 94% of company productivity target, down from 100% », or for another having done « four errors when entering items ordered by buyers during the same week while the latter employee had successfully validated 15,800 goods for customers before that.

Unionization is progressing, Amazon is making efforts

What emerges from the files and interviews carried out is the enormous pressure exerted on workers at the Amazon e-commerce platform, with particularly high demands from the company which have directly contributed to fueling the organizing effort everywhere. in the USA. 1er Last April, the Staten Island warehouse became the first officially unionized to be recognized by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an American government agency which is the equivalent of labor inspection. Even Joe Biden had supported this initiative.

Amazon explains, for its part, to praise more than criticize its employees throughout the year, ” to help them succeed and make sure they understand the expectations “says the company. The NLRB itself has acknowledged that the firm has done everything to comply with labor law.

In the spring, the US administrative judge ruled that the firing of Gerald Bryson, who was filmed insulting a colleague during a protest (an act seen as an attempt to intimidate Amazon), was not legal , thus ordering Amazon to reinstate him. And while the e-tailer has appealed, Bryson himself doesn’t seem willing to work for the juggernaut again, even though he says a win could show other employees ” that they can fight “.

On the same subject :
Amazon presents Proteus, its warehouse robot intended to work among humans

Source : Reuters

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