With a net worth of more than $100 billion, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is the world’s wealthiest man. But the warehouse workers who helped make him rich are underpaid and micromanaged.
Now, many of these workers will subjected to high-tech spying straight out of nightmarish novels about an authoritarian future, such as Brave New World and 1984.
Brave New Bracelet. Amazon recently patented the designs for a wristband that could make its workers the most micromanaged in America. To streamline the fulfillment of orders, the bracelet would track where workers are placing their hands. Using vibrations, the bracelet could nudge them in different directions. This would speed up workers who are taking products from inventory bins, packing them into delivery, boxes and moving on to their next orders.
Taxpayers Subsidize Low Wages. Amazon is encouraging states and cities to compete for its facilities with taxpayer subsidies. But it pays workers so little that 700 Amazon workers receive food stamps in Ohio, where the company gets $123 million in tax breaks.
Sweatshop Conditions. In addition to micromanagement, Amazon workers endure other health and safety hazards. In a warehouse in Lehigh Valley (PA), the heat index once reportedly reached 102 degrees. Warehouse worker Elmer Goris told the Allentown Morning Call: “I never felt like passing out in a warehouse and I never felt treated like a piece of crap in any other warehouse but this one.”