OHIO – Emergency workers were summoned to Amazon’s warehouses nearly 200 times for suicide attempts and other mental health crises over a five-year span.
Employees say brutal working conditions at the company leave some to reach out for help before ultimately seeking relief through suicide, The Daily Beast reported Monday.
Emergency workers were summoned to Amazon warehouses at least 189 times between 2013 and 2018, the report noted, citing police reports and other documents obtained through open records requests. The reports came from 46 of the mega shipping company’s warehouses.
Amazon employees told reporters they frequently end their work day feeling as if they are another cog-in-the-wheel of a massive machine, one that grinds them up and leaves them frustrated and depressed. Former employee Nick Veasley told a sheriff as much in July 2018.
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“With all the demands his employer has placed on him and things he’s dealing with in life [sic] is becoming too much and considering hurting himself,” he told a sheriff. Veasley, who worked at a warehouse in Etna, Ohio, told the sheriff that he “is frustrated with his employment because he felt he was lied to by Amazon at his orientation.”
The sheriff’s report added: “He keeps saying the company told him they valued his employment and would be treated as if he mattered and not just a number.” Veasley told reporters: “The quota, the boringness, everything.” Managers acted as enforcers, according to Veasley. “Do that, do this, do this,” he said. “Crack the whip, crack the whip, crack the whip.”
The Daily Beast’s piece comes shortly after reports in 2018 showing that Amazon was paying people to combat on Twitter negative publicity about the company’s working conditions. Employees in Monday’s report also claimed they were overworked and isolated.
“It’s this isolating colony of hell where people having breakdowns is a regular occurrence,” Jace Crouch, a former employee at a warehouse in Florida, told reporters. It’s “mentally taxing to do the same task super fast for 10-hour shifts, four or five days a week.” Crouch suffered an emotional crisis on the job, according to The Daily Beast report.
The number of calls don’t “take into account the total of our associate population, hours worked, or our growing network,” Amazon said in a statement to The Daily Beast. “The physical and mental well-being of our associates is our top priority, and we are proud of both our efforts and overall success in this area.”
Similar situations are happening at other big tech companies, The Verge reported in February. Many of the employees at Facebook contractor Cognizant are having meltdowns while attempting to moderate the vast troves of content people post on the social media platform. Combing through people’s content is turning Cognizant’s Arizona office into a dark and sinister place.
Several moderators told a reporter that conspiracy theories took strong root at the office. The 2018 Parkland shooting, which resulted in 17 casualties in Florida, initially horrified staff, moderators said. One person The Verge called Chloe, for instance, claimed her colleagues eventually began expressing doubts about the initial story as more conspiracy content was posted to Facebook and Instagram.