By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

A heartbreaking look at a death in an Amazon warehouse

The Huffington Post has published a tremendous, heartbreaking story on the death of a temporary worker at an Amazon warehouse. The employee worked for a temp agency, but was hoping to be promoted to a permanent position with Amazon. Instead, he died of an apparent heart attack at a warehouse not far from Richmond, Virginia.

Unlike The New York Times’ recent exposé of Amazon’s brutal culture at the upper echelons, there are no obvious villains in the HuffPost story, written by Dave Jamieson and illustrated by Davide Bonazzi. Neither Amazon nor the temp agency, Integrity, did anything obviously wrong. Rather, the story examines in detail a culture of corporate greed that makes it nearly impossible for working-class people to lead decent lives. In my opinion, this is a much more important piece of journalism than the Times story.

Sadly, we are all enablers.

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1 Comment

  1. Brings back memories of way long time ago when I worked in canneries, the machines set the pace on the can lines, the cans just kept coming and coming at you and your team. Depending on the can line and such from 225 to 280 cans per minute to be slid into a basket on layer at a time. Or the people inspecting the cans looking at them going down the line checking for defects or bad fills (in Salmon you want the flesh to show when the consumer opens the can, not a big chunk of skin) and correcting any problems.

    Same thing on the slime line – where people cleaned fish or correct a bad mechanical cleaning job – standing in cold water in rain gear looking at dead fish bodies all day – no electronic counters but still a relentless pace, you were expected to fix a bad cleaning job in literally a few seconds

    Doubt things have improved much in 40 years – production lines have always been @#$ busters and a tough way to make a living – Amazon has raised the abuse (as have others) to a new level – watch FedEx and UPS drivers – most of them jog with the packages or run. The checkers at the grocery store – always a line waiting – never seems to be quite enough checkers

    Mike Brough

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