Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Amazon's terrible warehouse and the letter I wrote

Dear Amazon,

I generally like Amazon — I like the low prices and free shipping. I like the incredible variety of products available. I had planned several purchases in the next couple of months, from a new french press to a new laptop.

But I also like workers, and the American way of life. Which is why I was so disappointed when I heard about conditions in your Lehigh Valley, Pa. warehouse, as detailed in this story by the Morning Call: Inside Amazon's warehouse
Lehigh Valley workers tell of brutal heat, dizzying pace at online retailer.

It shows me several things: First, that Amazon is exploiting its workforce, or, more specifically, exploiting the temporary workforce. It shows that Amazon is engaging in unsafe working conditions, draconian discipline and a general failure of management to treat workers with respect and care.

So, until these problems are resolved, I feel unable to support Amazon in any way, including making my purchases through you. And unfortunately, through the official statements made in the story, it's clear that Amazon can't be trusted to accurately report the conditions it requires of its workers, so I won't be able to shop at Amazon until there is an independent news agency that reports an improvement in conditions at Amazon's warehouses, or when I hear that Amazon's Lehigh Valley warehouse is organized and unionized.

I hope I hear these things soon — as I mentioned, I do appreciate Amazon. But I just can't know that saving me a dollar comes at the cost of heat stroke and brutal conditions. It's not right, and I hope you can understand that.

Josh Steichmann

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