We’ve all seen in the news lately that the New Jersey legislature is trying to lure internet retailer Amazon to the state with millions of dollars in tax breaks. Amazon has dangled its plans to spend $130 million on the development and construction of distribution centers and create 1,500 full-time jobs in the Northeast. New Jersey and our neighboring states are all trying to sweeten the pot to win the heart of America’s No. 1 online store.
However, a federal lawsuit was settled last summer between Amazon and a warehouse worker who said that there was amazing pressure to keep the retailer’s fulfillment centers scarily efficient. There are reports of constant worker monitoring, pressure to cut shipping times, fear of retaliation for reporting a workers’ compensation complaint, and managing workplace injuries so the Occupational Safety and Health Administration wouldn’t pick up on them.
One safety official for the retailer said he treated wounds and attributed injuries to pre-existing conditions so he wouldn’t have to report them to federal authorities. When temperatures inside one of the Amazon warehouse soared over 100 degrees because it didn’t have air conditioning, he wanted management to approve a slower pace for employee production quotas. But he didn’t dare. Instead, he gave workers backpacks of Gatorade to drink and keep cool so they wouldn’t have to leave their posts. He also had ambulances parked outside and ready to take workers to the hospital.
Once an injured New Jersey employee is granted workers’ compensation insurance, he or she also has the option of seeking additional compensation through personal injury or negligence claims against the responsible person or product.
Source: Kentucky.com, “Kentucky News Review: Amazon warehouse in Campbellsville takes heavy toll on employees,” Lu-Ann Farrar, April 5, 2012