Amazon.com is already the world’s largest online retailer and if they continue growing at the current pace they’ll be bigger than Walmart by the end of the decade.
And by the looks of it they are no better than Walmart in terms of worker conditions. Check out this excerpt from a September 2011 Morning Call investigation in an Amazon.com warehouse:
The 34-year-old Allentown resident, who has worked in warehouses for more than 10 years, said he quit in July because he was frustrated with the heat and demands that he work mandatory overtime. Working conditions at the warehouse got worse earlier this year, especially during summer heat waves when heat in the warehouse soared above 100 degrees, he said.
He got light-headed, he said, and his legs cramped, symptoms he never experienced in previous warehouse jobs. One hot day, Goris said, he saw a co-worker pass out at the water fountain. On other hot days, he saw paramedics bring people out of the warehouse in wheelchairs and on stretchers.
“I never felt like passing out in a warehouse and I never felt treated like a piece of crap in any other warehouse but this one,” Goris said. “They can do that because there aren’t any jobs in the area.”
The issues run past their labor practices also.
Last year they went after small-business owners with a promotion offering discounts to customers who bought books they scanned while they were standing in a brick-and-mortar store. They’ve also played expensive politics to avoid paying taxes across the country.
Below, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance illustrates just how Amazon.com got to where they are today.