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Amazon workers seriously injured at rate much higher than others, union study says

Amazon workers seriously injured at rate much higher than others, union study says
The study says that Amazon averaged almost 7 serious injuries for every 100 warehouse workers last year compared to 3.3 per 100 for non-Amazon warehouse workers. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

April 12 (UPI) -- Amazon warehouse workers receive serious injuries on the job at a rate more than twice as high than it is for non-Amazon workers, a study by a union coalition said on Tuesday.

The Strategic Organizing Center, a coalition of four unions, said the study examined data submitted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration by Amazon and other companies. It concluded that about 34,000 Amazon workers received serious at-work injuries in 2021.

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"[The report] finds that in stark contrast to [Amazon founder] Jeff Bezos' recent pledge to make Amazon 'Earth's Safest Place to Work,' the injury rate at Amazon facilities increased by 20% between 2020 and 2021," the center said in a statement.

"After relaxing some of its discipline systems in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Amazon reimplemented its monitoring systems and production pressures in late 2020, and its injury rates rose substantially."

The study added that Amazon averaged almost 7 serious injuries for every 100 warehouse workers -- compared to 3.3 per 100 of their non-Amazon counterparts.

The study came just days after Amazon workers in Staten Island voted to form the first union in the United States for company workers. File Photo by Friedemann Vogel/EPA-EFE
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"In 2021, Amazon employed one-third of all warehouse workers in the United States, but it was responsible for nearly one-half of all injuries in the warehouse industry," the Strategic Organizing Center said. "Legislators and health and safety inspectors have taken notice of Amazon's dangerous production system and are responding.

"California passed a bill regulating the use of production quotas in warehouse distribution centers, and in Washington state, health and safety inspectors have issued Amazon multiple citations for unsafe working conditions, including the company's 'very high pace of work.'"

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The Strategic Organizing Center is made up of a coalition of the Service Employees International Union, International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Communications Workers of America and United Farmworkers of America. The unions represent about 4 million workers.

The study came just days after Amazon warehouse workers at a New York facility became the first to form a union in the online retailer's three decades in operation. Union-favoring workers at the Staten Island warehouse won the vote by a little more than 500 ballots. It was overseen by the National Labor Relations Board.

After the victory, Amazon said it would challenge the results of the union vote, arguing that the NLRB violated impartiality rules.

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