When we shop online, we want our items fast - even overnight. But there's a human cost to that, according to Amazon employees in Minnesota.
On Friday at 4 p.m., workers ralled outside the Amazon fulfillment center in Shakopee. The working conditions are inhumane, employees said, and now they're demanding change.
William Stolz, an order picker, said he has worked there for about a year and a half. The number one issue, he said, is the fast pace Amazon expects people to work. Stolz said as soon as employees clock in, a computer tracks how quickly they're working.
Stolz told KARE 11 people get written up or fired for not keeping up with the speeds. He said the rates always increase over time, never decrease, and as a result, coworkers have suffered from shoulder, back, wrist, and knee injuries.
He said that attempts to ask management to slow down were unsuccessful. Now, workers will come together with a rally demanding that Amazon reconsider.
"This is very mentally stressful, like when you've got to scan something every seven seconds," Stolz said. "We really want Amazon to create just a humane rate or humane speed that we have to work."
Amazon sent the following statement:
"We work hard every day to ensure all our employees are treated fairly and with dignity and respect, including here in Minnesota where we have an open and direct dialogue with employees. Amazon offers a great employment opportunity with excellent pay – ranging here from $16.25-$20.80 an hour, and comprehensive benefits including health care, up to 20 weeks parental leave, paid education, promotional opportunities, and more. I encourage anyone to compare our pay, benefits, and workplace to other retailers and major employers in the Shakopee community and across the country. We invite anyone to see for themselves and take a tour through our fulfillment center tour program."
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