It seems like Amazon, which is the largest online retailer in the U.S., has stringent disciplinary policies. Reportedly, Amazon has disseminated 13,000 disciplinary notifications at a warehouse in the U.S. One of the ex-employees of Amazon, Gerald Bryson, who used to work in this warehouse, accused Amazon of unfair labor policies. After being terminated from Amazon, he joined a union known as the “National Labour Relations Board.” Bryson stated that he received a write-up in 2018 in which all his errors were listed in tallying the inventory and has been warned that if he commits the same mistake six times within a year, he will be fired from work.
Bryson said that he used to work tirelessly in the warehouse and had to count and tally thousands of items in the inventory over a period of just three days. According to the “Internal Amazon Documents”, it was stated that the company has very strict measures regarding the timeliness of measuring employee performance and consistently performs this job in a very detailed manner. This can be proven by the fact that when the company issued 13,000 disciplinary notices, there were 5,300 employees at that time in the company, as per Amazon’s lawyer.
It is common for Amazon employees to face work pressure and strict deadlines in the warehouses, especially for the line workers who have to finish the tasks not only on time but also without the possibility of any mistakes. Amazon, however, had to face a lawsuit when it terminated Bryson back in 2020. The NLRB declared Amazon to be promoting “flagrant unfair labor practices,” while Amazon denied all these claims and said, “The goals we set are fair and based on what the majority of the team is actually accomplishing. We give a lot of feedback to employees throughout the year to help them succeed and make sure they understand expectations. “
On the other hand, Bryson said that he is not yet sure if he won the lawsuit against Amazon, and neither does he has any idea about his return to the company. He stated, “If I walk back through those doors, it’s going to show the workers that they can fight.” Bryson further expressed his work pressure by saying that when he was first cautioned about his dismissal from the job due to his slightest of mistakes, he slowed down his work in order to achieve efficiency. But his performance appraisal showed that he counted 295 goods per hour when he was supposed to do 478. He then further increased his speed and, by working for the whole day while standing on his bare feet, he managed to increase the number to 371.
He said that his feet used to swell and feel like he was “1000 years old”. He recalled those words when he was being warned, “You’re sitting there worrying about whether you’re going to have a job tomorrow because your rate is not where it’s supposed to be. It was horrible.” Similarly, a lot of other employees faced the same types of issues, and one of them stated, “It doesn’t matter how much I work or how well I work. It’s a game you can’t win. “