My wage slavery

Contingent labor in the United States, or "if you drop pan, you can no longer work for us."

"Just do not take anything from the fact that there will be with you, close to your heart" — tells me with a wink, a woman in the local chamber of commerce, when I tell her that tomorrow I start to work in the Amalgamated Product Giant Shipping Worldwide Inc . I stare at her in disbelief.

"What's the matter? — I ask. — To me there will find fault or something? "

She smiles: "Of course." I'm in a small town west of the Mississippi, and here all either know someone who worked at Amalgamated, or they themselves were working on it. "Look at it from their point of view. They need you to work as fast as you can, so that they can be sent as quickly as possible as many of the goods. So they will give you a rate, and then, if you implement them, they will raise them, you know? And while they will still be constantly yelling at you. It's like the army. They need you to break down, so that you become the same as it is convenient. So you can have all the time saying, 'You do not work, you are running bad, you bad work "- so you no longer try. Do not say: "I can do better", even if you really can not, say, "I'll try." If you say that the best you can not, you get fired. They have a huge turnover. Will constantly be around someone to fire. Just do not take it personally, do not tear and do not cry when you will scream. "

A few months earlier, I wrote about a warehouse in Ohio, where workers were shipping products for online stores in conditions that looked even demoralizing and inhumane in my opinion — and I am a long time worked in a warehouse. After this revision has asked me to work in the Amalgamated Product Giant Shipping Worldwide Inc. When I hired there, I had to give his real name and his working career, and if I were asked about the details (this, however, did not happen), it would be impossible to lie. However, I will not mention any details that could identify the people with whom I have encountered, or the company itself. In addition, if you do it differently, it may seem that things are so in only one stock or just one company. And this is not the case.

I was worried if I do not have to interrupt the job, if you ask me why I need this job. But this is no one has asked. And while I'm proud emphasized his experience in a warehouse, it was found that in order to get a job, I mainly had 20 or 30 times to confirm that I was not sitting in jail.

The interview took place in the office in a depressed town with closed shops and smashed windows in the business center and advertising solutions to the problems of mortgage on the building of a local law firm. The same time I hired another six or seven people. We answer questions for computers located in several groups. The system asks me whether I was sitting in jail. No? Well, as I sat in jail for beating? Burglary? For serious crimes? For a minor offense? For rape? For murder? I'm sure of it? There is no reason to lie, computer warns me, because employees are checked for criminal records. Over the next computer I have to prove that I can read. I give the test: show covers several albums, including "Thriller" by Michael Jackson, and then ask what the name of Jacksonian album. Next the computer asks about work experience and character traits. What do I think about dangerous actions? Can I say that it is not inclined to? Or, on the contrary, is inclined?

In the center of the room on the big screen constantly show video with a loud sound. Anyone who is late, the voice-over, while men drawn break the rules — for example, by accident and wakes late for work — hurting yourself even more than the company because of it's being punished with penalty points, while those who score too many points — fired. If you are late on any day of their first work week, you will be fired immediately. Being late and being ill, you also miss the opportunity to maximize the payment of overtime. Work more than eight hours a day is mandatory. Participate in workouts as necessary, as most of your minimum 10-hour shift you will either have to stand at a conveyor belt, or walking on concrete and metal stairs. Be careful, as you can seriously injure. Also be careful: some of your colleagues may be those monsters that emit false statements about accidents at work. If you learn that someone does it, report it and condemn the guilty, you will be given a bonus of $ 500.

Computers, it turns out, godimsya me to pack boxes and pasting labels belong to the agency for temporary recruitment. The goods that we order a large online stores are stored in large warehouses owned either by the shop, or an independent contractor logistics — the so-called 3PL-companies. Often, one warehouse serves several distributors. Warehouse space, which is used in North America, Exel, 3PL-largest U.S. company, is 86 million square feet. Exel — a subsidiary of Deutsche Post DHL, which is curious, since Deutsche Post — this is the German postal service, privatized in 1990 and bought DHL in 2002, becoming one of the largest employers in the corporate world. The volume of the sector "warehousing and logistics services with added value" in the 3PL-companies exceeds $ 31 billion, but this is only a small part of the benefits that it provides to the parent companies. For example, UPS logistics division in itself brings about half a billion dollars, but other than that support other businesses UPS Inc multi-billion dollar revenues.

However, in any case, regardless of who is engaged in storage of goods that you buy — he distributor or 3PL-contractor — people who are actually engaged in work in a warehouse, often working on a very different company today: an agency for temporary employment. The agency, in which I asked, from October to December 4000 ants hired only one warehouse Amalgamated. Words: four thousand. One of these was the ant i.

I'll have to work from Sunday to Thursday from 7 am to 17:30 pm. When you need to work overtime — that will happen soon (Rozhdestvo!) — I'll have to go to 19 or 19:30. Eight days later, after the interview — that is, as soon as we got the results of drug testing — I have a running walk on a small town about an hour's drive from the city in which I was engaging for work. This is where the warehouse is located, so many of my colleagues is difficult to get to work. I'm going out to the main street and walk into the Chamber of Commerce. I just want to kill time, which I do, however, not too much — my first working day begins at five in the morning — but in the end get useful advice.

"What if I still cry? — I asked the woman warned me to stay calm, as would be terrible to me nor treated. — Can I really get fired for this? "

"Yes, — she says. — At your workplace is claimed by 16 people. Why would they want to hold on to an employee who does not control emotions, especially now when the economy is this situation? ".

In addition, she advises, how would you not pressed, do not work for wear and not to bring the matter before the injury. You're young, you have a long life ahead, she said. It is not necessary to destroy health for the sake of wages, she said. If you consider that I have promised to pay about 11-something dollars an hour, it sounded to some understatement.

The sun on an overcast November sky already on the wane when I thank the lady for help and turn to leave. She reiterates her after me, "the first rule of survival."

"His pride and his personal life, leave the threshold of the warehouse." If you want to keep a job, she adds, tomorrow you will have to pretend that you do not have either one or the other.

Inconvenient location for most workers warehouse Amalgamated Product Giant Shipping Worldwide Inc. was no accident. The town where it is located, crossing one of the main highways, besides it is located near a major airport, and several highways. Also, do not forget about the train station, which a century ago has become a transit point on the way to the more important places and is now included in a strong transportation network, is used to deliver to customers across the country goods from all over the country. My room at the hotel is constantly shaking from the roar of passing trains. I was never able to really see them because the left for work before dawn and returned when it was already dark.

In Amalgamated on the first working day of training is carried out. Although the salary we start to run from 6:00, we were told to come to the 5. If we do not come an hour early and we will not stand by and wait for them to understand who we are, and where they Delhi our passes, we may miss the beginning of training — which will mean dismissal. "I was so afraid of being late, did not sleep half the night," — tells me a woman of 60. Happened to me the same thing. After the first week minute delay — is 0.5 penalty points, the delay of an hour — 1 point, a missed day of 1.5 points. Scored 6 points fired. However, in the first week of laying off even minute delay. When we build that we could in the third or fourth time in the count, the woman conducting the roll call, find out the name of one of the young trainees. "You are my father work? Or uncle? "- She says. "Grandfather" — meets intern. Another curator interrupts them — not rough, but a nervous tone — "Hurry up, do not stay."

Work culture in the company provides high intensity, says one of the bosses of Amalgamated, recorded on a video presentation which we show in the beginning of the training, along with several rolls — about company policy of non-sexual harassment, etc. We are looking at the screen, trying not to bite nose. We would not require such intensity, says corporate bigwig. But it suits our customers. Around hang posters. At some are required rates of output. Others claim that the positive reaction of customers to which you want to perform norm — is the key to growth, and growth is the key to lower prices, which in turn causes a positive reaction of customers. Designated inefficiency should not be. The girl leading our training, reminds us that in the first week we can not miss a single day. No exceptions will not be made. Take, for example, Brian, who is now undergoing training with you, she says. Brian has already passed it, but in his first working week his wife gave birth to a child, he missed a day and was fired. Freshly baked father had to apply again, and it cost him a couple of weeks of work and wages. All right? All turn and look at Brian. Welcome back, Brian. Do not take an example from Brian.

Soon we come to learn in practice. As in any workplace with a high degree of automation and a lot of heavy equipment in stock at workers have many opportunities to become a cripple, and we are happy to list them. Here are the places with different levels of sex — you can stumble and dislocated leg. Do not come close to elevated levels of several fork lifts, "If you fall on the tray, you can no longer work for us." Keep track of your fingers at the conveyor belt, which passes through the warehouse at the waist. People lose fingers is — or at least, parts of the fingers. About once a year, we are told, have someone in the belt tightens hair. When this happens, the victim is deprived not only hair, but also parts of the scalp.

If the main, been telling us that in the first half of the training into practice — a "be careful", then the second half was held under the motto: "Move as fast as you can — and even faster." I was hired in the picker, and this means that I have to look at the multi-level warehouse area of several thousand square feet, scan, pack into plastic containers and sent down the pipeline objects, according to the instructions of my scanner. We were divided into groups and taught to search for objects on the shelves of specialized training on the information provided by the scanner. We then go to training on speed. First, we compete to see who will fulfill orders, and then — who quickly decompose the items back on the shelves.

"Hurry — the instructor encourages me to see that I pulled ahead — then you can arrange the items on the spot." Of course, I am surprised that the good work I promise even more work, but the instructor got to the point — I'm one of those strange people with whom this method of motivation works. I win and get a reward additional task.

In the afternoon, we sent in a single trip to the warehouse with the scanner at the ready. And then I realize that, despite the relative youth, regular exercise and complexes drummer, I'll never be able to perform the specified norms.

Warehouse — a huge, cold, cavernous space. It is silence, despite the presence of thousands of people who silently collect orders or standing at the conveyors, packaging of cargo or zakleivaya box. No sound, except for occasional roar lift. My scanner tells me what to look for goods department — only nine departments in stock and they are so big that to my pass card is attached. It also tells me what, in his opinion, the time I'm supposed to get up to the target. Sector "Dallas", the yellow section, a number of H34, Box 22, Level D: dressing gown. Now elektrosito. Twenty seconds. I believe the steps to their destination — their 20 with me 5 feet 9 inches tall and the steps I have wide ranging. In the allotted time I have time to get to the desired point and find a cell only if a second Do not delay, do not stop to drink water and immediately going in the right direction as fast as I can — and even sometimes turn into a run. Spray for olive oil. Pills to increase male libido. Rifle strap. What the hell book online paper towels? Calendar with the fairies. Neoprene bag for breakfast. I'm always late.

Constantly there are any failures. Our programs are designed for scanners that we — temporary workers — are complete idiots. The scanner tells me to find a voodoo doll of Rob Zombie in a blue section of the sector "Rockies", the third cell, the level of A, a number of Z42. But if I point out that the doll was not there, I'll have to prove it by scanning the entire contents of the cell, although I could have sworn that in the hill of 30 individually packaged batteries, which in turn scan took me a lot of time, there can be no Rob Zombie . Probably only five minutes later I finished this and went for the next subject — though the indication for an error should leave within seconds.

During the first working week of beginners must perform 75% of the norm. If we are failing, we were sent to a "consultation." If the employee works in stock for several weeks and does not fulfill the norm by 100% — it is also sent to a "consultation." "Why do not manage? — Ask the curators. — You definitely need to fulfill the quota. "

In the temporary employment agency hires Amalgamated exactly as many people as it takes to fill orders for this week at maximum productivity. Many stores are hiring additional employees at a busy time, and online shopping — is no exception. However, warehouse and distribution centers like this use of temporary workers throughout the year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — 15% of pickers, packers and movers — these are temporary employees. On average, they earn per hour to $ 3 less than permanent. In the "temporary" status can run for years. In this warehouse of such workers so much that their recruitment agency keeps an office here. Business consultants believe search of temporary workers is extremely popular — "hot" — the business. To profit is maximized, it is essential that all work quickly, and that workers have as much need for the task. Employer selects the desired number of workers literally by the day — there is always hope. Often, these workers are forced to call right before their shift, to see whether they work. Sometimes they are paid by the piece — depending on the production. They are always fast to drive and find a replacement.

Here, everything is constantly bustling. When announcing the first of two 15-minute breaks, we begin to fuss even more. We picker, end up with their containers, send them on the conveyor belt, and running as quickly as possible with the rest of the crowd on the concrete transition to the rest room. On the road to pass through a metal detector before which accumulates all. It is interesting that pass through it only when entering and not entering — apparently, the authorities fear that we will make a face game consoles, but not at the warehouse will carry a weapon, he did not care. If the detector responds to us — we were taken aside and searched, if not, you can rush to the rest room and look for space for rows of tables. If you go to the bathroom — and I need to — it requires additional time. When the background of all this panic due to the time before I realize what a blessing that I now have no periods, I triumphantly raises his fist in the air. To get to the toilet, too, need to stand in line. Only two toilets. In the women's eight at the booths through which every day there are thousands of people, many stalls in the men's — I do not know. Once I accelerated the process of passing through a metal detector, replacing the tie belt (belt no metal parts at a local store was not found, but without a belt from his pants or underwear may seem a depression in the ground between the buttocks — and then I'll get penalty points) and started to hide car keys in the break room to show me a manager "relatively safe" place — no lockers in stock, and "we've got all the time steal" — I finally starts to be from a break up to seven minutes, during which you can eat, zapihnuv a fatty protein foods as much work. In Amalgamated always operate with such speed. With this now, before the "Black Friday", workers in stock more than usual.

Then, just as quickly, we're running back. After 15 minutes into the break, we have to be there from left — ready to work with scanners at the ready. Receding, snapping up trucks for containers. When someone runs past, you can manage to exchange words. "How are things on the labor market? — Screaming with laughter one of the team leaders for beginners — no joke. " (Very funny!). "I know why you guys are here — I am here for the same reason." Two employees face almost on the run, and one of them asks the other, how are you complaining about the ban compensatory time. The second is responsible through his teeth: "I was told to rejoice that I have a job at all." There is no time to talk, but the talk, at least not forbidden — as opposed to a warehouse in Ohio, about which I wrote. There's a guy in front of me was fired for violating the ban — he asked another employee, from where he came from. So I allow myself the luxury of a smile the man who always unhappy look, and ask him what's up. He says: "Terrible," and I'm running on to a hefty lift-cage deliver our truck on the second and third floors. I need to pass under a large metal bolt in front of the elevator, which is good should get. Over the past month have three people who have received such head bolts, had stitches, so it's not safe. The most dangerous lift in the sector of "Dallas" — where the bolt is installed properly and is especially prone to fall. Be careful, warn us. Yes, yes, of course. But what about the rate of output?

According to Amalgamated, picker pass at a fast pace on the cold concrete in an average of 12 miles a day, and when I squat — shelves extend from the floor to a height of seven feet — to find a protective case for aypada, I hurt all over — feet, legs, hips. So, now the anti-glare screen for aypada. Taped to aypada. Thing resembling a tube from a landline phone, which connects to iPads, so you can pretend that you speak not according TABLET PC and on the phone. And dildos. Yes, that's right, a lot of dildos. In between some of my colleagues are constantly complaining about this. I, on the contrary, have fun — at least some reason to laugh. I'm already getting sick every time code on my scanner shows that the subject should look at the floor — and for 10 and a half hours of this change is not one hundred times. What will be next week when to begin the mandatory 12-hour shifts? "I wonder what he thinks about the management of occupational safety" — I mutter to myself. ("In matters of ergonomics — said to me at the Office, when I later called back — we do not have a standard. Recommendations are, and there is no law.") So really excited to be able to distract for a moment and imagine yourself as someone wraps all these sexual toys and puts them under the tree. Merry Christmas. I give you the biggest black cock.

At dinner, the most common question after "How many members of the man-packed day?" Was "How did you get here?" — As in a prison. The guy a little over 20 says that he is from Chicago and moved to this state, finding a full-time job in an hour's drive from here, because "Chicago is dying." Unfortunately, it did not work too well paid, so when he is not busy on it, it works here — works shifts for 10 and a half hours and spend two hours on the road. Another one of my co-worker says that he is a writer. When he is not working in the warehouse, he is trying to get a grant. My neighbor, a middle-aged woman, was formerly an accountant. Her hiring in the hot season. Last year, she also worked here before Christmas. "What the rest of the time?" — I ask. "I sit on the dole," — she said with a sad chuckle how people usually laugh when they say something is not funny. Around us are desperately nazvanivayut mother to her children. In the early afternoon from everywhere and hear their cooing. On the part of these women are very brave to keep the phones in the break room, in spite of the theft. Machines, however, they can not leave the phone, otherwise they will not be able to use until the end of the day — we were not allowed to leave the store without a special permit. Take them to work, they, too, can not, because in the warehouse can not carry anything, "except my clothes" ("If you will found any item that sells Amalgamated, it can be confiscated. And what sells Amalgamated? Everything!" — warned us at the time of study). I think if I was lying on the responsibility for a child, I would have had no choice, and I would have to leave your phone here. However, mothers are managed quickly. "How are you?", "Is everything okay?", "Have you eaten?", "I love you" — and here they are with us, absorb food as fast as everyone else. Lunch lasts 29 minutes and 59 seconds — we specially stressed that 30 minutes and 1 second threaten punitive balls. During this time, you need to have time to go through metal detectors and have time to take advantage of the crowded filthy restroom — on the board for suggestions constantly hanging requests to do something about the smell. You also need to have time to mention leaving and returning. So we chew quickly, and usually return to the field, not having finished chewing.

Days blend into each other. By the end of the third day, I get a penalty. I sent two items on the conveyor belt, but my scanner only asked for one — the goods were packed in pairs, and I should open the box and take one copy, but I have not noticed — too hurried. Before the end of the shift is an hour, I have found 800 items. Although I'm moving so fast that it has had time to be covered with sweat, the scanner tells me that I am doing only 52% of normal. The foreman approached me with my performance in the folder. It is definitely a good man, trying, like the rest of her colleagues at work to create a friendly atmosphere and do not want to implement the policy of the company that makes this work so unpleasant. But her hands are tied. She also needs a job, so she has to tell me that I had never heard of any of 19 training on any of a dozen or so jobs: "You do not cope."

I admit that I did cry. However, fortunately, not at work, where it is clearly seen to frown, and later, when I was explaining to a friend on the "Skype", I have all the body aches that I did not fulfill the norm, I'm 10 and a half hours of running, every 20-30 seconds and got up on his toes, bent over and fell to the floor. It's terrible that they fired Brian for the fact that he fathered a child, I continued to complain and, by the way, when I signed the employment of paper saying that everyone who goes to work without notifying the authorities this week — whether it's a journalist which simply returns to other work, or work, who missed the day because his wife had a baby and was fired for it — do not pay the agreed amount, and the minimum wage. In this state, as in most others, it's seven dollars an hour. Thank God that I (probably unlike Brian) do not need to pay Amalgamated also for a "limited health insurance program." Because of salary for 10 and a half hours of the day I will be after taxes of about $ 60.

"This is America?" — Asked my companion (I had often go abroad).

She is the most, and I'm working on a huge and very successful company. Or recruitment agency that works for this company. Easy, I must say, it turns out scheme: temporary employment agencies eliminate the reputation of companies whose names are known to all, the stains associated with unacceptable conditions. When temporary staff from the warehouse Walmart went to court to complain that the first they were underpaid, and then they were fired for trying to make a fuss, Walmart, formally their former employer, was not listed as a defendant (though, Amazon sued in a similar situation all -the same was found). Temporary staff do not provide decent health care — because they are just short-term "kontrakniki", no matter how long they have worked at the same place. They do not put any pay raise or vacations, they actually can not form unions, moreover, they do not even know whether they work in a given day, and how much they will still work. But it helps to reduce the price, deliver goods in the shortest possible time, to offer free shipping and save with millions and billions of profit.

"Maybe it's not that awful?" — Says the man. I shake my head. That's it. And in this city there is no other work, and in many other cities, too, and such cities will be more. No wonder in America predict a rise in retail sales on the Internet at 10% a year — up to 279 billion dollars by 2015. No wonder the revenue the country's largest online store Amazon is growing every year by 30-40%. No wonder he has 69 large stores, 17 of which became operational only in 2011. So do not be deluded.

"You have something very funny" — tells me the next foreman. He quietly walked up to me when I was busy working, and his appearance took me by surprise. His words were no less surprised.

"Really?" — I ask.

I feel myself very unhappy. I am a fourth consecutive morning pull myself out of bed before dawn. Self-pity is a serious problem. I have a terribly sore back and shoulders. "Take to 800 milligrams per day Advila" — advised me to a woman 50-60 years, when we are going to work in the break room. When I arrived, I hid a bag with lunch on the bottom shelf of cheap metal shelving, which borders in the rest room walls, and was about to leave, but hesitated — and cursed herself. Turns out I forgot something in the bag, and now I had to bend over or behind it, or to squat and do it once again I just could not. A man with a sad sight, which I always try to smile, told me when we were hurried on their plots, it works here for the second time: a few weeks ago he broke out arthritis, and he had to spend time on visits to doctors. Although he had information about it, it still fired. He had to undergo re-employment process, which cost him an extra week and a half earnings. "Faster, faster! Work alive! Get a move on, guys! "- Cheered us this morning. So it seemed to me that we are working as quickly, I must admit that all this is overpowering.

"Really?" — I repeat.

"You know, — says the foreman, — at this point, almost all have either fall into despair, or go crazy with anger."

This is my 28th hour on the job.

Maybe I look like more fun than it should be, because I can afford the rare luxury of not having to hold on to this job. However, I am moving around in his sector in a sufficient pace to catch a little out of breath and dizziness earn. Today, I work in the book department. "This is good" — I smile to yourself when the first time I've seen clogged with paper shelf. I've always loved books.

However, work with books in Amalgamated revealed its shortcomings compared to working with dildos, baby food or Barbie dolls. First of all, numbering mismatch. When my scanner tells me that I need a book from the lower level of such and such a number of section 28, section 28 shelves at eye level often coincides with section 28 of the lower-level shelves. So when I see section 28 and kneel or squat, it may be that at this level, the desired section is five feet to the left or to the right. This means that I need to get up, go through these five feet again kneel / squat, which greatly increases the workload for the day. Or you can crawl without getting up. I usually do, and my colleague prefers to get up. "It's very exhausting," — he says, when we meet. He's 20 years old. 9:07 on the clock.

This inconvenience of work in the book department does not end there. In the summer it is very hot. On the second and third floors of our concrete box stores a huge number of volumes. In a paper that I signed when applying for a job, said that the temperature can drop to 60 degrees and climb to 95 degrees, and the higher the floor, the hotter there. "They had to have fans, because in the summer people are just dying" — told us one of the team leaders. Now the fans are working, although I have to wear five shirts. "If you think it's cold now, — said one officer, when he saw that I was trying to warm his hands, — pray that there are no fire drills." Recently, because of all of them were evacuated, and many employees of those that move a lot, had to strip down to T-shirts. So they then stood outside for an hour, shivering under a falling snow on bare arms.

So, book department, the winter cold and dry, compounded by the fans and deposits of paper around, I'm racing across the floor in their running shoes, pant legs only with a whistle rub against each other, in 30 seconds — just over the scanner — do 35 steps to find the desired section , row and cell level, reach for "Diary of a Wimpy Kid» («Diary of a Wimpy Kid») and — "b … qb!" Between the shelf and my hand spark jumps. And this is not the easy discharge of static electricity, which I as a child of boredom frightened sister in the store with carpet on the floor — this is a full-fledged strike, bad enough that my body instinctively beginning to fear its repetition. I am now involuntarily procrastinate every time I reach for a book. My colleague rushes to the shelf bends his head touches the metal, and it casts a bit literally. "Take care of your head," — he tells me. For the first two hours, I take 300 items from the shelves. And most of them hurts me shock.

"Do you happen to know what to do with static electricity?" — I ask the headmistress when it's morning break. This talk will cost me a few precious minutes, making it possible to eat / drink / go to the bathroom, but I played suspicion — I'm starting to think that electric charge exchange with the metal a few hundred times a day can be harmful to health.

"You work in the book department?"


"No, sorry." She really sorry. I'm really uncomfortable to see bosses who are trying hard to help us and do not want to look unsightly. "They are working hard — she says — but he can not do anything," Perhaps these "they" have never heard of an anti-static coating …

I can only frown. However, even if she had any advice for me, I probably would not have time to follow its recommendations. For example, we propose to facilitate the work yourself, using ladders, rather than stretch and get up on his toes. However, the search ranks among the few ladders took away a lot of time. I also offered to shift uncomfortable scanner from hand to hand. "You start problems with carpal canal — the foreman tells me — and you want to change the hand." However, he admits, it slows down, as the bar code to be scanned at exactly the right angle and it's easier to do the leading hand. Extra time I have. I'm still doing only 57% of normal. 10 years ago I worked as a loader and a packer in a transport company, a little later rehearsed monstrously long shifts as a cleaner and waitress. Of course, back then, and my knees were younger, but I'm only 31 years old, and I'm sure I work as if I am in the morning still would have felt like a man who works too much, and not as a man's body which decided to rebel. Of course, any time I can, working in suicidal pace fulfill the quota, but it's not 10 and a half hours on end!

"Do not say that" — warns me during a break from working-woman treylerschikov. Treylerschikami call people who ride in their wagons across the country from one temporary job to another, stopping at the trailer park. "My wife and I are retired, but we …. not enough — says one of them, with a shrug. — A work in our area is not, and that's necessary to go back to where it is. "

Amalgamated places ads on sites, which often come treylerschiki. Only on this stock are hundreds of them.

"Do not tell me it's not possible — still a woman. — When you ask why you do not fulfill the norm … ".

"We need to answer:" Because it is impracticable "?" — I interrupted.

"Answer that will work better, even if you know that you will not — she continues, ignoring my irony. — No matter how many times they have spoken to you, that you're not working, answer that you'll try harder, even more simply nowhere. "

People who perform the norm, of course, exist. For example, one of the instructors. It operates year-round, not just at Christmas. "In the first month, I hated the job picker — she said to me sympathetically. — Then he used. " Of such persistent and dedicated employees are not so little. Another one of the permanent staff tried to cheer me up by saying that he always carries out normal, and sometimes it Exceeds 20%. When I ask him, if not exhausting it is, he says, "Still, at the end of the day you just want to cry and call mom." Then I ask him if it somehow rewarded for exceeding the plan. He says that sometimes includes Amalgamated it draws its gift cards — for 15 or 20 dollars — and shrugs: "In these days and it's not bad." In any case, he believes that the right attitude to work and work well is important in itself. Even some of the workers are categorically unable to cope with the rules, try hard. "I heard you're good at," — said to me one of the women in our study group. I kind of stressful — I'm still works out 60% of the norm, but it's more than it produces. "Congratulations," — she says with a sad smile.

We fired. If we say that we can not or will not work better, tell me treylerschitsa. But if you listen quietly, you're worthless, you can save a job. "How do you think this work must necessarily be such a nightmare?" — I ask her.

"Of course not," — she says with a look as if I asked a stupid question entirely. However, he's really stupid. Amalgamated could be a bit lower their profits and hire more people, something the minimum amount that it employs, as well as arrange a warehouse a few ergonomic. However, this extra space, so the extra money, and customers do not like to spend it, and can go to another company. If you charge for delivery, it reduces the number of orders, although I'm not sure that people will not be willing to pay the extra couple of bucks for shipping or a little more for the goods in exchange for assurances that to carry out their orders do not need to torment and exploit low-paid employees.

"First you need to enlighten society" — explain to me then a familiar expert in online trading. Information now slowly beginning to seep beyond the "machine of the Internet orders." Issued in Pennsylvania Allentown Morning Call newspaper published an article about how Amazon workers complained of the stifling heat, from which they fainted, and along with the fact that they were punished for these fainting and generally treated them "like shit." Site Gizmodo published excerpts from a blog treylerschika. Huffington Post's prepared material about the dangers to health of wildlife and economic instability faced by temporary warehouse workers. The employees are suing online retailers, logistics companies and temporary employment agencies, demanding payment for overtime, etc., and, in at least one of these claims (the decision on it was not made in favor of the plaintiff, but he appealed) appear very familiar circumstances. However, until now, few people know how to it gets the majority of goods purchased on the Internet. This does not even know my friend specialist in internet trade — despite the fact that it was she who chose the 3PL-medium sized company for an online store where she works. "These decisions are made at the level of the company for reasons of cost reduction, — she says. — I never even thought about what they are and how to treat people. They prefer to keep customers in blissful ignorance. " If you call, say, a large company selling clothing on the Internet, she said, and ask them "what's going on in the warehouse from which deliver their sweaters, it turns out that in our office did not know about it."

Moreover, when I started talking about it, it occurred to her that she could not imagine how any one can find out anything about the working conditions to the 3PL-company with which she entered into a contract, nor how to find a responsible company 3PL- . "We need to create standards. A sort of "fair trade" or organic certification, which is a public good price ", — she said. In her opinion, there is a segment in society — and in it, in particular, includes buyers of exclusive products, we sell it by the company — "who care about such matters, and who is willing to pay for it."

If these people only knew about the brutal realities of the business — but this is still far away. In addition, it is not just about online trading — 3PL-service large companies use as food manufacturers, suppliers of medicines and many more businesses. In addition, the benefits of temporary employment — that is low cost and non-participation in an employer to any problems — actively uses a number of other sectors — hospitality, call centers and so on.

"It may help to improve the public awareness of the working conditions — says Vinod Singhal (Vinod Singhal), who teaches management at the Georgia Institute of Technology. — But I do not know … "In general, given the state of the economy, much optimism he does not feel.

Most people with whom I work, we have to put up with these conditions. After the break, we take the time with my interlocutor back in its place. Been listening to our conversation on the way a man decides to put in a word. "They can find fault with anything — he says. — Know that we have nowhere to go. "

Today at the briefing we were reminded that customers are waiting. We can not move in the "comfortable pace" because if we do not fulfill the norm — and the customers do not want to wait. Ahead of Christmas. This week, we have 2.7 million orders. People need — really need — these things, and right now. So, even if you work long enough to earn the right to time off, you will not give it until the end of the holidays. And by the way, forget about the day of the elections. "What if I want to vote?" — I ask. "Of course, vote!" — Meets the head. "But if I go, I get fired?" — I say. He makes a sad face and said, "Yes." No time off is not allowed and those who work on Thanksgiving Day. The following week, Amalgamated suit two festive dinners over Thanksgiving, but you can only go to one of them. After that, the permanent press pass will attach a sticker that you can not try to come again. In general, all of the holiday, and now back to work! Hurry!

Returning to the electric discharge book department, I shudder involuntarily imagining how will apply for Christmas in my future family. Sorry in advance their future children, if they ask me for a Christmas present and heard in reply that when you press the order button on the site, some poor stock swallowing painkillers and listens to the arraignment.

In essence this is what was said in the paid radio piece by a coalition of local businesses that I listened to when went to work. He gently urged citizens to support local shops, shopping in them, but not the Internet. However, if my colleague Brian will need baby food packaging, but rather buy it on Amazon for 31.16 dollar than at the local grocery store, where it is 47.76 dollars. Even if he finds the time to reach Target — the present, not the virtual discounter — where prices are about the same as that on the Internet, it will have to pay more tax and sales tax, which the law makes the physically existing stores — but not Amazon — charge, to be able to pay for repairing roads that go and the car Brian, and by the way, trucks Amazon.

After returning to work, I again get an electric shock from the right hand, when I take up another book on the orders clamped in the left hand scanner, and sanctimonious promise myself that I will later buy food in my — more expensive — food store, because I can afford it. Because really long time since I belong to people who earn $ 7.25 an hour to one-third of Americans who believes statistics "poor or close to poverty." I just pretended to be a while one of them.

"I was lucky," — I whisper to myself, happy plunging into the lungs fresh winter air. It's only lunch time, but I came out from the warehouse without permission. For today, I sent through the pipeline 500 items — but I've had enough. I'm tired of getting electric shocks and listen to the type of the folder, it disappointed me. "I was lucky, how lucky I am," — I say, heading to his car. I said to the woman of his group, which is nervous about his performance, to convey the foreman that he was not looking for me. When I left, she grabbed my hand with even more disturbing than the usual kind, and asked if I was sure what I was doing. I do not want my foreman took the time — it has its own norms. It will not grieve for me — and no one will. The agency, for sure, this is no less applicants for the job than when I was on it was arranged.

"To understand how all bad, just look around" — suddenly said to me, one of the staff recruitment agency, when I took on the job. It was the first time in my life when someone tried to comfort me just because I got a job — and it was the fact that this man, like all who work in this rapidly growing industry, he knew that it is a vicious by nature of the model. He actually showed the same solidarity that workers at the stock show during each break: How did you get here? What happened to you? Why do you allow this to yourself to address? "We are all in the same boat — he said and shook my hand as if welcoming me on board. — And this is a very big boat. "

Poppy McClelland (Mac McClelland)


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