Working at Amazon is very hard on the body
” This is a difficult work. You will feel it in your legs for the first few weeks. When I started in Toronto I was walking 20 kilometers per day. I found it difficult as an ex-soldier, imagine! “
This is one of the first warnings Director Joseph *, a former NATO soldier, issued to recruits at Amazon’s Latchine distribution center.
It was there that I worked five weeks in stealth, an experience recounted in the documentary, in front of amazon, broadcast on Eleco Club.
- Listen to journalist Dominique Cambron-Jules with Pierre Nantel
Listening to Joseph *, I thought that this work would put me in shape. But after a few days, I realized that my body, like most of my Amazonian compatriots, would suffer.
“In the middle of yesterday, I can’t feel my shoulder anymore,” Bashar * tells me during Black Friday, perhaps the busiest time of the year on Amazon.
- Listen to Claire Bourget, director of the Academy for digital transformation
“My back and neck hurt,” complains Fred *, the newcomer, like many storekeepers.
On Amazon, all positions on Earth are physical in their own way, but in beak – Pickup tool – Too cumbersome due to its repetition.
Unlike Joseph *, to do this job I don’t have to walk several kilometers a day. The Lachine warehouse is highly automated, so everything is set up in about two square meters.
Robots (shelves installed on small vehicles) carry products that the computer asks me to pick up and put in a container or on a shelf to my workstation for packaging.
I’m supposed to do this little exercise at least every 12 seconds, or about 2,500 times a day. If I wanted to be at the top of the goal window, I had to complete it about 3,500 times.
“I can cancel my gym membership,” jokes my colleague Kevin.
The same muscles are used all the time. Despite the stretches my computer suggests I do every morning, I often have stiff neck, shoulders, and forearms. Same thing my colleagues are complaining about.
There are actually two 30-minute breaks in a 10-and-a-half-hour day, but the end of this Transformation It rarely happens very quickly.
My legs often get stuck in the middle of the afternoon. I barely bend my knees to pick up another cast iron pan from the bottom of the grill. My protective boots seem too heavy for me to climb my ladder to retrieve another bag of crisps.
But on the other side of my post, bots aren’t slowing down. My performance is always part of my profile.
Amazon’s handling of COVID risks has been widely criticized in Canada and the United States.
The lack of communication with staff was particularly criticized.
We have been in contact with colleagues who have contracted the virus and who have been absent from work. But when our superiors told us about it, they denied that there had been any cases, ”recalls Sean * Spring 2020, New York employee.
Workers at its distribution center went on strike because they did not feel sufficiently protected. Some protesters were shot dead.
Myself, in Lachine, I learn by text, after a shift, that two colleagues have contracted COVID-19.
The message says “Additional confirmed cases”, but I have not been notified of any cases before. Three days later, a message appeared indicating that a third employee had been infected.
It was also by asking my colleague Enrique * about his absence that I learned that he had to isolate himself 14 days after his wife contracted the virus.
Monitoring by cameras
When I arrived in Latchine at the end of October, there were many hygiene measures, such as temperature measurements and compulsory masks.
Additionally, manager Joseph * tells us that “400 cameras” help fight COVID, by calculating the hours employees stay for long periods six feet from each other.
The program records this misconduct on a daily basis.
Screens in the hallways and in the break room also let me know if I was far enough from my classmates using a green circle around me.
But the presence of these cameras does not guarantee good driving. In the locker room there is sometimes an uncomfortable closeness.
Many employees do not wear their face masks and this worries some of my colleagues. Few even go so far as to write it on the comment board to alert the employer.
Inspectors from the Fairness, Health and Safety Standards Commission visited Amazon just before it opened, we learned after requesting access to the information.
* False names
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