Orwellian World's richest man policy penalize workers bathroom breaks

‘Orwellian’: World’s richest man resumes policy penalizing workers who take too many bathroom breaks

World's richest man wants workers to speed it up so Amazon can make another ten billion or so over the holidays.

Wikimedia / Clean PNG

No more “time off task” for Amazon workers. As the coronavirus pandemic ramped up, CEO Jeff Bezos seemed to care about worker safety. Now…not so much.

In what appeared to be a rare moment of compassion for workers last July, Amazon dropped disciplinary actions against workers who were not able to meet productivity quotas. The company seemed to understand that people needed extra time, what with all the hand washing and sanitizing and trying not to die of the ‘rona. But now, just as health officials warn that cold weather will ramp up infections, Amazon is back to cracking the whip to keep everybody on task for the holiday rush.

Amazon’s system tracks the number of seconds each worker takes for each task, and every moment a worker spends not working. (Time spent social distancing while using the bathroom, for instance, or sterilizing a work station.) Too much “time off task” generates a warning, causing employees to be “coached” or even fired.

It seems that monitoring may have continued all along. Hibaq Mohamed, who works in an Amazon warehouse in Minnesota, was written up for “time off task” in July. She also claims this was in retaliation for protesting the company’s labor practices. Apparently, protesting with good reason.

Take it to the court

A close up photo of a gavel

Unsplash / Bill Oxford

Workers in the Amazon Staten Island Warehouse, JFK8, have filed a lawsuit over the reinstatement of policies that track “rate” and “time off task.” This is the third time JFK8 has made the news for Amazon’s failure to protect employees from contagion, and at least the second lawsuit alleging that the company is aggressively pushing for profits while ignoring worker safety.

Holiday fun — not

Christmas presents stacked up on a white counter


Now, despite the company stating that these policies would be suspended during the pandemic to keep their workers safe, disciplinary actions have resumed. “Amazon needed its employees to work faster during peak season,” was the message in one employee’s “coaching” session.

Getting rich on death

A caricature of Jeff Bezos with a giant goofy head.

Flickr / DonkeyHotey

Online sales have skyrocketed during the coronavirus pandemic, and this disease has been a boon to the online juggernaut. As the holidays approach, the company estimates it could bank a cool $10 billion on Prime Day alone.

There oughtta be a law

Packages Mail Amazon Boxes

Unsplash/Claudio Schwarz Purlzbaum

“Amazon is now treating the pandemic — and the need for measures to protect workers’ health and wellbeing — as a thing of the past,” said Karla Gilbride, one of the attorneys who represent the workers in their claim.

Sound like any other rich white guy you know of?

Get back on the line, drone.

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