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Is Amazon Running a Sweatshop in Pennsylvania?

Illustration for article titled Is Amazon Running a Sweatshop in Pennsylvania?

Everyone loves Amazon, except some employees in its Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania warehouse. According to a report in local newspaper The Morning Call, working conditions within the facility are unbearable.

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The report describes a factory with temperatures in the 100s, employees passing out from the heat and workers being terminated when they can't keep up the pace. Workers tolerate these conditions because the economy stinks and they need these jobs.

And these reports are not isolated to the 20 employees interviewed by The Morning Call. Numerous employees and security guards at Amazon complained to OSHA about these conditions. Even the local emergency room supposedly reported Amazon to federal regulators because it treated so many employees for heat-related illness.

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You can check out the full story of Amazon's supposed sweatshop at The Morning Call and judge for yourself. Is Amazon an evil oppressor or is this an isolated incident? [The Morning Call]

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DISCUSSION

Philip-J-Fry
Philip.J.Fry

This is what happens when you combine a bad economy and lack of regulation or unions. There's a reason why companies are making pre-recossion profits but unemployment is still above 9%. Companies are just squeezing more production out of them because they can.

The ratio between company payroll expense and profit is greater than it's ever been in US history. But apparently somehow throwing more money at businesses in terms of tax cuts is supposed to get these "job creators" to create jobs? Yeah right! They've had their tax cuts, they have more cash, and still not creating jobs!

Newflash! Giving companies more money won't make them hire more people. It just makes them more rich! They're not going to suddenly hire more people and create excess capacity/product to just sit around collecting dust! The only thing that will make companies hire more people is to increase demand. And you do that by first getting money into the pockets of the vast majority of the consumers, not just the upper 10% that have enough money to buy anything they want anyway. That's why stimulus programs help kick-start, (or in the past couple of year, prop up) the economy. It's pretty simple.

The other thing you have to do is make sure companies don't abuse their current employees. You do that through regulation and allowing labor unions to give employees a collective voice. Otherwise you end up with sub-human working conditions companies create to chase profit and cost/price competitiveness. And they get away with it because people would rather have a horrible job than no job. Case in point is Ikea. They are based in Europe and have an excellent employment reputation. But when they opened up a plant in Virginia they turned into an employee-abusing, union-hating employer. Proving it's not necessarily the company, but the business environment that can create the problems.