April 17, 2018

Amazon, Jeff Bezos Continue to Get a Virtual Pass For Alleged Sweatshop Practices

One way to look at the grief Starbucks has received for enforcing a reasonable policy at a Philadelphia store — namely, “If you’re not here to buy something, you don’t have an automatic right to be here” — is to ask why current and Executive Chairman and former CEO Howard Schultz didn’t buy some protection by purchasing a major newspaper. Fellow Seattle-area resident and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos did that with the Washington Post in 2013. Amazon’s alleged engagement in 21st-century sweatshop practices and union-busting has gone virtually unnoticed in the establishment press since Bezos bought the Post.

The latest news about Amazon’s alleged exploitation and mistreatment of workers emerging from the UK is compelling. It makes one wonder how the Associated Press, the New York Times, and most of the larger establishment press outlets have managed to ignore it (naturally, the Post also has nothing, confirmed by searching only on “Amazon” for the past four days):

Need the toilet at monster Amazon? Urine trouble now

WORKERS at a giant Amazon warehouse have resorted to peeing in bottles because the toilets are too far away, says a former employee.

Undercover investigator James Bloodworth said staff took the ‘toilet bottle’ option at the huge depot in Rugeley, Staffordshire because they feared losing their job if they took too long spending a penny.

‘I had to go down four flights of stairs, walk over 400 yards and go through airport style security just to take a leak,’ said Mr Bloodworth, author of Hired: Six Months Under Cover in Low-wage Britain.

‘You don’t want to do a big walk and go through security four or five times a day to use the loo and then get disciplined. People peed in bottles.’

… The 700,000 square foot warehouse is the same size as 10 football pitches and employs 1,200 people. Workers can face a 10-minute walk to the toilet, plus around five minutes going through a security scanner, the book claims.

After well over a year of obsessing over the contents and credibility of the Steele dossier, it’s hard for the press to claim that it’s queasy about reporting on a story about workers who feel they must pee in a bottle to remain sufficiently productive and keep their jobs.

Contentions that Amazon engages in harsh employment practices at U.S. fulfillment centers have been chronicled in the tech press and at less-visible left-leaning outlets for at least four years, when one current and one former Amazon employee contended that “Amazon is an amazing company. As long as you don’t work here.”

Since 1994, Amazon has “fended away every effort by Amazon warehouse workers to unionize,” and saw little media grief for paying no federal income taxes in 2017.

Other left-dominated unionized media outlets have ignored how Bezos is playing hardball with the Post’s unions.

Amazon and its ultra-rich founder wouldn’t be so nearly completely ignored if Bezos had instead bought, say, the relatively conservative New York Post, and left its editorial practices alone.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

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