Amazon employees in Bessemer, Alabama voted against unionizing their workplace. There’s a lot that could be said about this - whether there was some form of interference in the vote, or if it’s good or bad for the employees.
If you take a look at Bessemer compared to other cities, it’s not positive. Manufacturing jobs dried up, unemployment rose, and crime increased. It was voted Alabama’s Worst City to Live in by 24/7 Wall Street. The Amazon jobs are huge - given that AMZN is employing some 30% of the city. For that city, at least short term, Amazon can be a great power for good. Long term, who knows.
As interesting as arguing about unions may be - let’s instead look at another aspect of Amazon and how they interact with their workforce.
In particular, the Fulfillment Center (FC) Ambassador Program.
The FC Ambassador Program is a way for fulfillment center employees can spend one day a week tweeting about how great their job is at the warehouse. They are trained to follow scripts, and don’t get much out of doing this aside from an amazon gift card and one limited paid day off (with an expiration of 3 weeks). This ends up with great tweets such as the following.
Did you know that Amazon pays warehouse workers 30% more than other retailers? I feel proud to work for Amazon – they’ve taken good care of me. Much better than some of my previous employers.
— Shaye – Amazon FC Ambassador 📦 (@AmazonFCShaye) August 21, 2018
They’re often the “kiss asses” of the departments. Who can blame, them, though? Getting out of loading and unloading trucks for 10 hours and all you have to do is write some tweets? I’d be tempted, too.
We continue to slowly tread towards the Amazon dystopia we never wanted.