What it's really like to be an Amazon warehouse worker during Prime Day
June 21, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.
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FILE - This April 21, 2020 file photo shows Amazon tractor trailers line up outside the Amazon Fulfillment Center in the Staten Island borough of New York. Amazon said Wednesday, June 2, 2021, that it will hold its annual Prime Day over two days in June this year, the earliest it has ever held the sales event. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)
For much of the past 16 months, Amazon's warehouse workers have faced grueling pressure to keep up with the demand from households for online goods during the pandemic. Now, workers must endure the stress of meeting a spike in orders from Amazon's summer shopping holiday, which kicks off Monday.
Several full-time Amazon (AMZN) warehouse employees told CNN Business they will put in a minimum of 55 hours this week as their regular 10-hour shifts grow to a mandatory 11 hours.
The pandemic, and a landmark union push at one Amazon facility, shed new light on these working conditions and prompted Amazon and its CEO, Jeff Bezos, to promise changes and concede more needs to be done to improve the work experience of warehouse employees.
But that won't be done in time for this Prime Day. Workers told CNN Business the job continues to take a big physical and mental toll -- especially during periods of high demand when mandatory overtime is enacted.
"When I think of Amazon Prime Day, I think of mandatory overtime," said Tyler Hamilton, who works as a trainer at Amazon's Shakopee, Minnesota, facility.
Natalie Monarrez, an Amazon associate at the company's Staten Island facility, also distinguished between the way customers and workers experience Prime Day.
Just weeks before Prime Day, Amazon attempted to address a key criticism by announcing it would change how it uses a productivity tracking metric known as "time off task," which measures the time employees are not engaging with the software tools in their work stations.
Amazon posted a link to the blog post regarding changing "time off task" in its app for employees, but it does not appear to have taken effect in time to alleviate the pressures workers feel on Prime Day. According to Nantel, when a new policy is issued, it will be communicated to employees through internal channels.