It’s the most exhausting time of the year: Amazon, UPS workers denounce grueling holiday conditions
30 December 2017
The International Amazon Workers Voice spoke with delivery and warehouse workers at Amazon and UPS locations across the US this week amid reports of deaths at both companies. Workers at Amazon, UPS, FedEx, US Postal Service, and other logistics and delivery companies have been under immense pressure to meet increased demand during the Christmas holiday.
Bad weather and infrastructure problems created delays in Atlanta, Memphis and other cities, increasing the pressure on workers to catch up to promised delivery times. Workers describe a chaotic and often dangerous atmosphere in warehouses across the country.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Christmas eve that, in addition to its usual “ready teams” of office workers who volunteer to handle packages on a seasonal basis, UPS had also pulled its accountants, marketers and other office staff to make deliveries with some using their personal vehicles.
UPS has reportedly hired 95,000 seasonal workers this year. FedEx hired about 50,000, and Amazon 120,000.
Early in December, UPS announced a change to driver schedules from the federal Department of Transportation’s commercial driver schedule of 60 hours worked in a seven-day work week, to 70 hours within eight days, before a driver may take 34 hours off uninterrupted. This undoubtedly results in fatigued workers on the roadways, driving under dangerous snow and ice conditions.
Two Amazon workers in Sacramento spoke to International Amazon Workers Voice on condition of anonymity. Workers at this plant, where a worker recently died on the job while throwing up blood, brought a class action suit last month against the company for…