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Amazon has warned workers that its busy season could make them feel suicidal


In the United States, the National Suicide Prevention Line is 1-800-273-8255. The Crisis Text Line can be reached by texting 741741 (US), 686868 (Canada) or 85258 (UK). Wikipedia keeps List of crisis lines for people outside of those countries.

Amazon reaches its peak peak — the company’s term for the winter holidays, as well as its corporate holiday, Prime Day — when its workers are under the greatest stress, often required to log mandatory overtime and are not allowed from scheduling any days vacation. It also coincides with the hiring of a flood of temporary workers, with an addition of 150,000 expected this year, the largest increase in holidays to date.

It’s hectic during the best of times. But according to an internal email seen by Engadget, and the testimonies of four current or former partners who have been given anonymity for fear of retaliation, it’s also a time of year when Amazon expects a number of its workforce to take the pressure off their colleagues. , or on themselves.

“Prime time is a busy time for our entire team as everyone is dedicated to helping customers receive their holiday packages on time. It’s easy to feel stressed and overwhelmed,” reads the leaked November 23 email. “And while most of us are never a danger to others, some people can act in a way that causes anxiety. This may be due to many factors in their lives, not just what they experience at work. Regardless of the cause, workplace violence is never the answer.” [Emphasis theirs]

The worker who provided the email to Engadget could not recall similar messages during previous peak periods. “I’ve been with Amazon for a little over four years and they haven’t mentioned anything about our state of mind yet,” they wrote in an email. Our leadership has not announced anything [other] quota issues.

Email continues to associate the hard workload of a peak with the potential for self-harm. “Remember that your mental health is important, “you read.” If you are experiencing stress, depression, anxiety, or thoughts of suicide, please speak with your manager, HR business partner, or mental health professional. It directs workers to use the company’s “free, confidential advisors and other resources.”

Two assistants who spoke to Engadget remember that a video clip, covering a similar topic, was shown during their training.

“It was stupid things like calling the employee resource center, and talking about ‘If you feel like you want to hurt someone, you can tell your supervisor and they’ll let you leave work and go home. “One remembers that it is just nonsense.” The same colleague mentioned that the ERC “is like a black hole of ‘click one for this,’ and I don’t even know how to talk to a real person out there.”

Another told Engadget: “They have a number to call if you start to feel suicidal or depressed because of too much work.” “They put up a video during training where they talked about a lot of workers feeling this way. It was after it was revealed that we didn’t get the schedules we wanted and had to work 60 hours a week. After we were told it would be 40.”

A 2019 report in the Daily Beast published some 911 calls made from inside several Amazon warehouses, including a pregnant worker who threatened to stab herself and her unborn child. Jess Crouch, the former employee cited by the story, said, “People have breakdowns [are] regular occurrence” within these facilities.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to answer specific questions sent by Engadget, including whether the company has seen any increase in workplace violence. Instead, the company provided the following statement: “We know it’s been a difficult year and a half for everyone, and like most large companies, we work to support our teams in many different ways. This includes providing resources throughout the year for anyone who may be dealing with stress in their personal or business life. At work, making sure he feels visible and can ask for help if he needs it.”

Are you a technical worker and have concerns about your job, your safety, or the work you are required to do? Contact me confidentially on Signal at 646.983.9846

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