Amazon warehouse workers are monitored by tracking systems that measure each employee’s productivity, issue warnings for workers that lag and fire those consistently behind, according to documents obtained by The Verge.
Amazon offers a base $15 an hour wage and its warehouses, called fulfillment centers, are often competitive to work at. The company is continuously replacing slow performing employees with new hires. An automated system tracks employees and gives pink slips to consistent underperformers.
Employee oversight is largely automated, though supervisors can always override the system as the need arises, Amazon told The Verge.
“Amazon’s system tracks the rates of each individual associate’s productivity,” documents obtained by The Verge say, “and automatically generates any warnings or terminations regarding quality or productivity without input from supervisors.”
From August of 2017 to September 2018, roughly 300 workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore lost their jobs because of low productivity. The facility employs about 2,500 full-time employees, putting the turnover rate at about 10 percent annually.
If those numbers are similar across Amazon’s 75 North American fulfillment centers employing more than 125,000 workers, the company is replacing thousands of workers every year through their system of automated tracking.
United Food and Commercial Workers International Union President Marc Perrone slammed the impersonal nature of Amazon’s oversight in a statement.
“Who needs real human beings when you have Amazon? It’s one thing for Jeff Bezos and Amazon to use a ruthless business model to destroy jobs for profit, but it is surreal to think that any company could fire their own workers without any human involvement,” Perrone said.
Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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