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Illinois has many faults, but at least we don’t do this

Monday, Nov 25, 2019

* From the Atlantic

[An investigation by Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting] amassed internal injury records from 23 of [Amazon’s] 110 fulfillment centers nationwide. Taken together, the rate of serious injuries for those facilities was more than double the national average for the warehousing industry: 9.6 serious injuries per 100 full-time workers in 2018, compared with an industry average that year of 4. […]

But injury records and interviews with three of the former Amazon safety managers suggest the introduction of the robots led to even more injuries. Of the records Reveal obtained, most of the warehouses with the highest rates of injury deployed robots. One robotic facility in Kent, Washington—which a senior operations manager boasted was “the flagship of fulfillment,” as one of the few centers in 2016 to ship a million packages in a day—logged 292 serious injuries last year, for a rate of about 13 serious injuries per 100 workers.

* And this section on Indiana is simply repulsive

And when disaster struck at one Indiana warehouse, Amazon’s economic might may have helped the company evade accountability. When a maintenance worker was crushed to death by a forklift there, state officials in Indiana, which then was jockeying for Amazon’s second headquarters, sided with the company over their own investigator. […]

On Sept. 24, just a few days after he’d been eating ice cream and watching college football with his grandkids, Terry showed up for work and was sent to do maintenance on a forklift. He walked under the machine’s forks and metal platform to work on it with a wrench. Suddenly, the 1,200-pound piece of equipment dropped down and crushed him.

His body lay there nearly two hours before a co-worker noticed the pool of blood. […]

As he surveyed the site of the accident, [Indiana OSHA inspector John Stallone] quickly figured out the problem: A tall pole, lying just feet away, should have been used to prop up the forklift during maintenance. In a recording he made of his inspection, Stallone asked an Amazon manager whether there was any written documentation of Terry being trained on that. […]

Indiana OSHA issued four serious safety citations, for a total fine of $28,000. Stallone sought more, but he was getting pushback. On Nov. 20, 2017, Stallone joined his boss, Indiana OSHA Director Julie Alexander, as she called Amazon officials. He secretly recorded the conversation, which is legal in the state, and shared the recording with Reveal.

During the call, Alexander told the Amazon officials what she’d need from them in order to shift the blame from the company to “employee misconduct,” according to the recording. […]

Some days after the conference call with Amazon officials, Stallone said Indiana Labor Commissioner Rick Ruble pulled him into his office. The governor was there, too, standing by the commissioner’s desk, according to Stallone.

He recalled that Holcomb told him how much it would mean to Indiana if the state won the Amazon headquarters deal. Then, Stallone said, the commissioner told him to back off on the Amazon case—or resign.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

27 Comments
  1. - Roadrager - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 3:05 pm:

    Really need Jeff Bezos to start wearing a top hat and monocle to better communicate that robber baron vibe.

    Maim and kill your workers, so that when you replace them with robots later, you can tout your improved safety record.


  2. - Anonish - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 3:07 pm:

    This doesn’t even get into the damage that workers are getting to their bladders in relation to Amazon’s work quotas and bathroom break policies.


  3. - State of DenIL - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 3:23 pm:

    This is the society we live in.

    John Stallone should feel honor. He upheld his beliefs, upheld the hard-fought battle workers have paid for in blood, and upheld the values of public service. This guy is a hero and stood up for this man, Terry. Terry was a grandparent with a loving family, not some god damned statistic for Amazon’s spreadsheets.

    The State of Indiana is obviously morally bankrupt. May Illinois never sink to those kind of criminal, murderous depths.

    American heroes vs those destined for Hell. The heroes only get 28,000 versus untold billions.

    I do not feel I am being hyperbolic. This is ugly and vile stuff. Thank you, Rich.


  4. - Ok - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 3:25 pm:

    “Business-friendly”

    “Open for business”


  5. - revvedup - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 3:26 pm:

    Shocking to see this in Indiana. Could get very, very interesting with the Gov. having personal knowledge, and very expensive and rightfully embarrassing lawsuits to follow.


  6. - Honeybear - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 3:27 pm:

    This is horrific stuff. Thanks for posting Rich


  7. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 3:28 pm:

    But yet American consumers will see to it Amazon posts yet another record breaking year.


  8. - Candy Dogood - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 3:38 pm:

    ===He recalled that Holcomb told him how much it would mean to Indiana if the state won the Amazon headquarters deal. Then, Stallone said, the commissioner told him to back off on the Amazon case—or resign.===

    We currently have a federal investigation that is looking into exactly this kind of corruption.

    I’m not sure it’s fair to boast about what we do and don’t do here, when if we do it — we might just be better at being quiet about it.


  9. - Donnie Elgin - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 3:43 pm:

    shop local


  10. - Rudy's teeth - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 3:45 pm:

    Indiana’s business climate is geared toward corporations and not employees. Think of all the pollution flowing into Lake Michigan thanks to the refineries in Northwest Indiana. Whiting Metals and lead. The Indiana legislature voted to prohibit teachers from striking. The legislature heavily favors business over the citizens.


  11. - JoanP - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 3:46 pm:

    Literally sickening.

    Is it really worth the health and lives of these workers to be able to get something tomorrow? That pair of shoes can wait.


  12. - PublicServant - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 3:52 pm:

    What do you expect from a Pence understudy as governor? Just sayin…


  13. - Telly - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    == very expensive and rightfully embarrassing lawsuits to follow. ==

    If the story is true, I would think an lawsuit would be the least of the governor’s concern. A federal criminal investigation is warranted.


  14. - twowaystreet - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 4:11 pm:

    ==Is it really worth the health and lives of these workers to be able to get something tomorrow? That pair of shoes can wait.==

    I have a family member that works in logistics and they always criticize Amazon’s obsession with getting things to people in one or two days and the strain it puts on their workforce when most people would be fine waiting a week or two.

    It is heartbreaking to see that this has resulted in lost lives, permanent disabilities, and the health and livelihood of people.


  15. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 4:12 pm:

    R.I.P. Phillip Terry


  16. - Left Leaner - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 4:14 pm:

    I listened to that whole story. Simply repulsive is a good description.


  17. - ktkat - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 4:26 pm:

    This is actually not surprising at all for Indiana. Their system in place for on the job injuries is horrific for the employees.


  18. - Blue Dog Dem - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 5:00 pm:

    I tried Google but came up empty. Looking for work comp rates for warehouse worker IL vs IN.


  19. - Illinois could do better - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 6:04 pm:

    Illinois doesn’t treat State workers that great. I know of plenty of ADA filings that have been denied even with the Doctor proving that they are actual medical conditions that need reasonable accommodations.

    The above is just one kind of an example. State workers are not treated well by management.


  20. - Ares - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 6:09 pm:

    And in spite of all the crony capitalism, people are leaving the Hoosier State, too, in search of better opportunities.


  21. - Anon - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 7:16 pm:

    Remember how Rauner wrecked the state OSHA. It was something that JB found and wrote in his initial Rauner damage report.


  22. - Anonymous - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 7:33 pm:

    I remember Rauner and OSHA. I also remember heat lamps turned on striking workers in the summer while walking the picket line in front of the Hyatt. Class warfare is class warfare no matter what letter comes after the name. Bloomberg D stop and frisk. It’s what the ultra rich do.


  23. - The Way I See It - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 9:27 pm:

    This is what being business friendly is all about.


  24. - Been There - Monday, Nov 25, 19 @ 10:31 pm:

    This is one of their billboards

    Come On IN
    for lower taxes, business and housing costs
    Indiana

    And I guess lower cost when your employees die


  25. - 17% Solution - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 5:41 am:

    “But yet American consumers will see to it Amazon posts yet another record breaking year.”
    Will Amazon pay taxes on another breaking year? That’s the problem. Amazon doesn’t make a profit. Amazon’s business model stinks. They churn through people with their draconian work rules and fire people. Because of this there are no old timers with institutional knowledge. People who are a second layer of protection when’s newbie does something unsafe. And they have to screen and teach new people over and over again. Eventually they will run out of people who want to work for them and they will have to hire the people they fired. At that point they might start making a profit.


  26. - Blue Dog Dem - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 6:11 am:

    17%. Not sure I agree with the profit statement, but like most they finagle the tax laws for sure.


  27. - JS Mill - Tuesday, Nov 26, 19 @ 9:11 am:

    Nice to know what you get in Indiana for low taxes. Here is the rub, their taxes are not really low, their protections for workers are low and they give lots of goodies to corporations that pay low wages.

    Not so great Indiana.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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