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Amazon responsible for half of US warehouse injuries by 2021

published on Wednesday 13 April 2022 at 07:20

Amazon employs a third of its employees in warehouses in the United States, but nearly half of the workplace accidents at these types of locations occurred at the e-commerce giant in 2021, according to a report published Tuesday by a coalition of unions.

According to the Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), which does not belong to the Seattle group, workers in Amazon’s logistics centers suffered more than 34,000 “serious injuries” in their workplaces last year, twice the rate of those in warehouses in the US. .

“After easing some of its disciplinary practices during the early months of the Covid-19 pandemic, Amazon reinstated its control systems and production pressures at the end of 2020, resulting in a significant increase in the number of injuries,” the SOC said.

The coalition says it’s based on data Amazon provides to OSHA, the federal agency responsible for work-related injury prevention. The group did not immediately respond to a request from AFP.

Amazon has taken revenge during the pandemic. According to this report, the company has grown from about 700 locations in the United States in 2020 to more than 900 in 2021, and from more than 200,000 employees in 2017 to more than 560,000 in 2021.

By June 2021, Amazon had revised working conditions in this country, notably extending breaks for its workers preparing, shipping and delivering packages.

The move came after the SOC’s previous damning report and an attempted unionization at a corporate warehouse in Alabama. This had failed, but the campaign had exposed the pace of work that many workers saw as infernal.

“We need to do better for our employees,” Amazon founder Jeff Bezos wrote in his annual letter to shareholders.

“We will be the best employer and the safest place to work on the planet,” he promised, citing measures already in place or being taken to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal disorders associated with repetitive tasks.

But “contrary to this commitment (…) the injury rate in Amazon warehouses increased by 20% between 2020 and 2021,” the SOC specifies.

Employees of the New York site called “JFK8” voted overwhelmingly in late March to form a union, a first at a US warehouse owned by Amazon.

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