Amazon warehouse workers must become “industrial athletes,” says a leaked company pamphlet comparing harsh working conditions to an intense CrossFit regiment.
“Some positions will run up to 21 miles a day, while some positions will lift a total of 20,000 pounds before completing their shift,” according to the wellness pamphlet in Tulsa, Oklahoma, obtained by Motherboard.
“Like an athlete training for an event, industrial athletes need to prepare their bodies to perform their best while also doing your best.”
Amazon divides the program into six categories: nutrition, hydration, sleep, proper footwear, ergonomic work behavior and injury prevention specialists.
The company recommends its employees eat 400 calories every hour, drink two liters of water throughout the day and “buy shoes at the end of the day when your feet are swollen so you have plenty of room if they are on the job.” swell’.
Former Amazon employee Christian Smalls at a protest outside an Amazon warehouse during the coronavirus outbreak, May 1, 2020
Amazon warehouse workers must become ‘industrial athletes’ who ‘walk up to 13 miles a day’ or lift a total of ‘20,000 pounds in a shift’
Calorie intake and hydration are essential, according to Amazon, but many employees told Motherboard that they often can’t take a break because of the relentless pace.
Motherboard published its article on June 1 around the same time that the US Department of Labor released injury data.
The Strategic Organizing Center, a group of the largest unions in the country, analyzed the data and found that by 2020 Amazon employees suffered 80 percent more serious injuries than the warehouses of all other companies.
In 2020, according to OSHA data, there were 5.9 serious injuries for every 100 Amazon warehouse employees who forced the employee to miss work completely or receive light/limited shifts – compared with 3.3 serious injuries for every 100 employees at non-Amazon warehouses, the Strategic Organizing Center said.
While the causes of the injuries aren’t listed by OSHA, Amazon workers and union representatives said some of the blame lies in productivity pressures.
Warehouse workers at Amazon fulfillment centers, sorting centers and delivery stations are forced to pay hourly rates for storing, collecting and packaging items, which some critics say are too difficult and lead to injuries.
In 2020, there were 5.9 serious injuries for every 100 full-time Amazon warehouse workers, nearly double the number of serious injuries recorded in non-Amazon warehouses
Debbie Berkowitz, a former OSHA chief of staff and senior policy advisor, who now works at the National Employment Law Project, an employee advocacy group, told The Washington Post that the company sets unrealistic goals for employees.
“The pace of work and the amount of twisting and turning is enormous,” she says. “There is a constant pressure to work quickly.
But last April, CEO Jeff Bezos spoke about workplace safety in his latest letter to shareholders.
“We don’t set unreasonable performance goals,” he wrote. “We set achievable performance goals that take into account employee employment and actual performance data.”
In that same letter, he added that the e-commerce company “must do better for our employees” and pledged to make Amazon the “world’s best employer,” CNBC.com reported.
In a statement to Motherboard, Amazon claimed that the pamphlet was created in error and that it was immediately removed.
However, Bobby Gosvenor, a former Amazon warehouse worker in Tulsa, told Motherboard that he first encountered it in November 2020 and that he picked up a physical copy of the pamphlet from the warehouse in Tulsa a few weeks ago.
In this photo, Amazon workers and community members demonstrate during a protest organized by New York Communities for Change and Make the Road New York in front of Jeff Bezos’ Manhattan residence in New York on December 2, 2020
He said he was concerned about the way his work accident was handled, despite the “injury prevention specialists” the company promotes in its wellness pamphlet.
Gosvenor, who left last year when he was injured, told Motherboard in a separate interview that he had been told to freeze a hernia and take ibuprofen.
“I was told to take my muscle relaxants at night, which was grueling during the day because the muscles were just spasmodic, and I had to breathe through it, sweat, get nauseous, it just hurt so much,” Gosvenor told me. Motherboard.
Amazon said the company plans to invest more than $300 million in security projects this year to protect warehouse workers (pictured)