Search By Topic The Green Supply Chain Distribution Digest
Supply Chain Digest Logo

Category: Distribution and Materials Handling

Supply Chain News: Should We Feel Sorry for Amazon Fulfillment Center Workers?



Worker Tells Tale of Woe – but DC Jobs are Lousy most Everywhere

Dec. 13, 2022


SCDigest Editorial Staff

Over the past 10 years or so, there have been quite a few stories relative to how hard the work is for most Amazon fulfillment center associates, usually combined with complaints relative to scrutiny of worker productivity and difficult to meet performance standards. (See SCDigest on Amazon in Hot Corner After Reports of Sweltering DCs.)

Supply Chain Digest Says...

BusinesInsider got a response from Amazon, which said "Working in a warehouse is not for everyone. But for those who don't want to sit at a desk all day, it's a hugely rewarding job."

What do you say?

Click here to send us your comments
Click here to see reader feedback

The most recent is a story last week on the website, in which a female Amazon FC worker in the UK shares her story anonymously with the publication. Mostly it is a tale of woe – from her perspective at least.

The worker is employed as a third-shift inventory control specialist, which in part involves cycle counting pick locations.

She also looks for damaged items, which involves walking all night around a huge FC, and  then needing to bring damaged goods, many of which she said were heavy, to a central QA station,

There is compulsory overtime, she says, especially during peak season or around Amazon’s Prime Day.

How much? The worker says she normally works four 10-hour shifts per week. But in peak, she was informed she had work five 10-hour shifts. Last year, with an out of work husband at home, our worker actually also volunteered to increase her overtime from five to six days – a schedule she kept for 10 weeks.

She said this led to sore muscles and other aches and pains, commenting that a ten-hour shift "is like being in the gym for ten hours because bins and pods are huge, which means you're going up and down a step ladder to reach the top.”

It gets worse, she says.

“I was exhausted. I had no life outside of work and was constantly physically and mentally exhausted,” she added, noting that she cried most every day.

She says she didn’t have the energy to do any cleaning or similar household work.

Then the influx of temporary workers in peak added to the challenges.

(See More Below)




“It's a disaster because new workers don't know all the rules,” she said. It makes it harder on other people's jobs because it means having to fix their mistakes.”

The meal area is also a problem, she said, with about around 200 people at a time waiting to use the microwave, purchase food, or use the vending machines – with the lines of people cutting into workers' lunch times.

“The food is disgusting so I bring my own,” she says.

She’s now back to five days per week. “I just want to have a life,” she says at the end.

BusinesInsider got a response from Amazon, which said "Working in a warehouse is not for everyone. But for those who don't want to sit at a desk all day, it's a hugely rewarding job."

The article seems clearly meant to pull readrs to the worker’s side. So what changes would someone recommend be made?

SCDigest’s take: Warehouse jobs are tough for most people in most DCs, with tales of workers walking 8-10 miles per shift not uncommon.

Third shift can also be tough, especially with regard to family life.

Maybe Amazon’s scale in terms of size and volumes adds a bit more to the job’s challenges, but not significantly so – while hundreds if not thousands of DCs use the same kind of productivity tracking as Amazon. They just don’t get press articles about it.

DC work is tough at Amazon and most everywhere else. The robots will be here to reduce the pain – and the number of jobs – soon enough.

Do you have any thoughts on this Amazon worker's story - or DC jobs as a whole? ? Let us know your thoughts at the Feedback button below (email) or in the Feedback section.




Follow Us

Supply Chain Digest news is available via RSS
RSS facebook twitter youtube
bloglines my yahoo
news gator


Subscribe to our insightful weekly newsletter. Get immediate access to premium contents. Its's easy and free
Enter your email below to subscribe:
Join the thousands of supply chain, logistics, technology and marketing professionals who rely on Supply Chain Digest for the best in insight, news, tools, opinion, education and solution.
Home | Subscribe | Advertise | Contact Us | Sitemap | Privacy Policy
© Supply Chain Digest 2006-2023 - All rights reserved