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Amazon Employees Suing Company Over Covid-19 Negligence

A group of Amazon employees are suing the massive company, alleging that Amazon has mandated unsafe working conditions within one of their fulfillment centers which directly lead to an outbreak of Covid-19 cases among the warehouse workers, resulting in multiple employee deaths from the virus. 

“This case is about Amazon’s failures to comply with New York law and state and federal public health guidance during the COVID-19 pandemic at the JFK8 facility. The company has relied on purposeful miscommunication with workers, sloppy contact tracing, and the culture of workplace fear it has instilled at JFK to ensure it can maintain productivity while reducing costs, even if that means workers come to work sick and cannot engage in proper hygiene, sanitizing, or social distancing while at work in order to stay healthy,” according to the official legal complaint

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The JFK8 facility is located on Staten Island, and at least one worker has died due to contracting the coronavirus; several others are currently sick. Employees received word this week that new cases were still appearing at the facility. According to one of the main plaintiffs, she alleges that after contractiv Covid-19 from the warehouse she “awoke to find her cousin with whom she lived dead in their bathroom after he developed COVID-19 symptoms as well.” 

Originally the plaintiff also claims she requested paid leave for when she needed to quarantine and Amazon refused to pay it; Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos, has made $24 billion during the duration of the coronavirus pandemic alone. However, aside from their back pays, employees aren’t actually seeking financial compensation for past errors in company judgement, instead, they want “an order requiring Amazon to comply with public health guidance to prevent more harm in the future.”

You may remember this specific Amazon fulfillment center for being in the news in March when they fired warehouse employee, Christian Smalls, for organizing a protest against the company’s irresponsible treatment of employees during a worldwide health crisis. Further investigation into Amazon’s handling of that firing revealed that senior leadership from Amazon specifically targeted Smalls to paint him as the face of the entire resistance movement. 

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“If possible, make him the face of the entire union/organizing movement. He’s not smart, or articulate, and to the extent the press wants to focus on us versus him, we will be in a much stronger PR position than simply explaining for the umpteenth time how we’re trying to protect workers,”  the company’s general counsel, David Zapolsky, wrote in the memo.

The Office of New York State Attorney General Letitia James began an investigation in April into the health and safety practices of all Amazon warehouses in New York. “The information so far available to us raises concerns that Amazon’s health and safety measures taken in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are so inadequate that they may violate several provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act,” James’ staff claims. 

Many individuals have been afraid to speak up due to Smalls’ unjust firing, and the several other NY employees who have been terminated for speaking up against management. An Amazon spokesperson recently emphasized how all they want from the company is to have them abide by all the rules put in place by the CDC and WHO. 

For now, the fight continues, Amazon has responded to these multiple claims by donating over $4 billion to Covid-19 related initiatives; which has given the employees even more motivation to sue, as their company has now been shelling out billions for country wide health and safety practices, but they haven’t even fixed anything in their own warehouses. 

To read the entire legal complaint, click here.

Amazon App

Jeff Bezos Returns To Manage Day-To-Day Operations At Amazon During Pandemic

As one could imagine, orders for Amazon have reached some record highs during this quarantine, and as those order numbers are increasing, so is the amount of warehouse staff walkouts/strikes against the trillion-dollar company and it’s billionaire CEO.

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The Differences Between America’s Working Culture and the Rest of the World

When looking for a new position in your career, the salary is usually one of the first things a prospective employee looks at, closely followed by how well they can further their career thanks to the opportunities they believe will be created. However recent reports show that maybe we should be looking at how America’s corporate culture could be affecting those looking for employment.

Other countries wildly consider America as one of the forerunners in many areas of business yet our work habits are being seen as ‘”oppressive.”

A series of reports has highlighted the fact that many Americans are now dealing with a much longer work week compared to their colleagues abroad. While we are happy to spend longer hours at our desks – as well as eating on the go, losing out on vacation time as well as continuing to work on emails or reports long after we have left the office – the rest of the world has moved on.

In other countries it is seen as normal to have between 20 to 30 days of paid leave, as well as paid parental leave – for both parents –, as well as having the maximum hours you are allowed to work in a week set by law. Some countries are even trying to get the “right to disconnect” brought into law to stop employees being contacted via phone calls and emails once they’ve clocked out.

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While many Americans can be seen working an average 47 hour week, those in Europe have stricter controls. The Working Time Directive, implemented in 1993, has seen employees in the European Union only allowed to work a maximum of 48 hours per week, although those working in Germany will usually work around 35 hours per week. Many Europeans also believe longer working hours are ineffective as it allows you to linger longer on work rather than getting it done in an efficient time frame.

Vacations are another area that varies comparatively. While the US offers employees around two weeks of paid leave each year, nearly 50% of them do not take it. Compare this to countries such as Sweden, where they are currently entitled to five weeks paid annual vacation, you can understand why America is seen as having a corporate culture that is stuck in the dark ages.

Another major difference is parental leave. While America has decided to leave the decision of how long new parents are allowed to take off to the individual company, other countries have laws set to ensure all new parents get time to bond with their new born baby. For example, if you were to have a child in Finland the mother can take maternity leave from as early as seven weeks before the child is due, with a further 16 weeks after the birth, and it’s not just the moms. Finland’s fathers are also entitled to eight weeks of paid leave. Although these options are on offer to all parents, it is worth noting that not all take the leave.

While it may appear that America has a more industrious approach to business compared to a seemingly more relaxed approach around the world, this is not the case as there are also many similarities as well as differences.

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Obviously most employees will want to produce the best work possible while collaborating with colleagues across the office, country or world. So how can we break down these barriers and make the American workforce a place many will want to continue working in?

First of all, it’s good practice to only employ workers who not only have the same passions for the company as the majority of the team, but who also actually want to be there. By having employees that are happy at work, the work should theoretically be done in the required time, meaning your staff can go home happy at 5pm on a Friday, knowing they will not need to be contacted again until they come back in at 8am on a Monday morning.

It is also important for all annual leave to be taken. With nearly half of our workforce not taking their leave – whether it is for personal reasons or because work pressures cannot allow it – sickness, both physically and mentally, can increase. By enforcing your holiday time with colleagues they should be back at work refreshed meaning they will provide a more productive working environment.

Ensure that communication between colleagues – as well as supervisors, managers and directors – are open meaning that if there are problems in the workplace they should feel happy to discuss them with someone higher up the ladder than them. By resolving problems when they arise you should stop them getting bigger in the future.

By respecting everyone’s culture, regardless of where they are from, we should be able to finally bring our draconian culture into the twenty first century.

Delta Plane

Delta Gave $1.6 Billion To Employees As A Bonus

Delta Air Lines is one of the most recognizable airline companies here in the United States, and their 2019 profits surely showed that. However, that success wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the tens of thousands of employees working around the country today to ensure that the commercial airline runs as smoothly and efficiently as possible. 

To show their appreciation for the amazing employees working for Delta, regardless of what their title is, the airline company has decided to pay them a bonus using all of the profits they made this past year; which equates to about $1.6 billion split amongst 90,000 individuals. That would give every employee a 16.6% bonus of their annual salary, or two months worth of pay. 

The profit-sharing bonus plan has been implemented for Delta employees since 2012 when the airline merged with Northwest airlines. However, the profit payout this year is the largest it’s ever been, topping a six year consecutive increase in overall Delta profits; the company has distributed more than $1 billion amongst its employees for six years straight now. Compared to 2018, the profits are 23% higher, as well as the bonuses.

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The profit-sharing bonus is just one of the many perks that gives Delta notoriety amongst its employees. All workers, full-time and part-time regardless of unionization, receive the 16.6% bonus, as well as normal perks such as a standard 401K match and other bonus programs that change depending on department, according to a spokesperson for the company who spoke with CNN

Company officers, directors, general managers, and other higher-ups are paid their own bonuses based on performance, leaving more money left in the profits to be distributed among lower-level employees. Their treatment of employees and profit payout isn’t only good for Delta’s public image, but from a business perspective as well. 

“Research shows that cash profit-sharing plans, combined with a supportive corporate culture that encourages employees to offer suggestions and participate in solving company problems, can reduce turnover and improve corporate performance and personal motivation,”  said Joseph Blasi, director of the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at Rutgers University.

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The research has clearly been backed up by Delta, which is currently the most awarded airline in the United States; a major reason for that is the immense reports of employee satisfaction annually.  In general, Delta had one of its most successful years to date. Reports state that the airline earned $4.8 billion in 2019, which is 21% more than what they earned in 2018, and revenue rose up 6%, equating $47 billion.

“As we enter 2020, demand for travel is healthy and our brand preference is growing, positioning Delta to deliver another year of strong results,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian.

Delta is expecting their first quarter to bring in a profit of 5-7% more than what was earned last year, and at the rate they’re currently moving, they most likely will achieve such. Typically, when an airline sees a comparative increase in profits from the year prior, it’s due to an increase in ticket pricing. For Delta in 2018, this was the case for their initial first quarter increase in profits compared to 2017; however, this year, executives are predicting an increase in profits as a result of increased passenger numbers.

Delta has proven that they are an airline passionate about overall employment satisfaction, customer experience, and airline quality, which is one of the reasons they are one of the top airlines nationwide.