Worker talks about 'difficult working conditions' at Jacksonville Amazon Fulfillment Center

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — UPDATE: Viewers respond to Jacksonville worker's claims about Amazon: 'You work for your pay'

An Action News Jax investigation unearthed grueling work conditions at the new Jacksonville Amazon Fulfillment Center.

The employee, whom we are not naming, said the pace and pressure has led to high turnover and unfavorable workplace conditions. We verified she works at Amazon through pay stubs and a current work badge.

She said she was excited when she first learned Amazon was coming to Jacksonville.

“Since Amazon, there’s IKEA now, there’s other places that are giving jobs out to people,” the employee said.

For her, she said it sounded like a no-brainer to work there between the pay and benefits.

According to jobsite Glassdoor, the average hourly pay for a warehouse associate is $12.60.

However, since working on the warehouse floor, she said her perception has changed.

“Day one I felt like just a disposable, disposable hero is what they call it. Like you’re just there but you could be replaced.”

She said they bring on hundreds of new hires each week, making current employees constantly worry about their job status.

“They bring in, you know, 300 people on every Thursday,” she said. “I hear people worry about it all the time.”

The employee said the job itself is easy; the pace however is not. Employees are constantly monitored by managers for speed and accuracy.

“If you get a tap on your shoulder, they want to watch you work for 45 minutes. If they see that you're doing anything wrong, then you get wrote up,” she claimed.

She said employees often feel underappreciated, until they perform up to their manager’s standards.

“They start noticing your numbers and your quality reports, then they start saying, 'hey' to you. Then they remember your name and you know you become somebody."

Combine all of that with short breaks, she said it’s a back-breaker.

“You have to take that 10-15 minute walk downstairs and then clock out,” she said. She claims that time is part of their break.

She said managers monitor employee’s bathroom breaks.

“We had a girl get written up for that, for taking too many bathroom breaks,” she said.

Claims like this are not a first. In fact, our digging uncovered a letter sent to shareholders in 1997.

In it, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos admitted, “It's not easy to work here.”

Action News Jax reached out to the company and asked if we could bring our cameras inside for a tour to see the conditions for ourselves. They denied our request, saying they were preparing for peak season.

The woman told Action News Jax that employees are there for Amazon, and it’s time the company is there for its workers.

“At least show some kind of appreciation for your employees. I think that's the biggest thing.”

The next time you order something on Amazon, she said she wants you think about who and where it came from.

“That really hard-working, good people that are working through some really difficult working conditions put that up to you. That we put everything into it.”

Amazon released the following statement:

"We believe Amazon's fulfillment center jobs are excellent jobs providing a great place to learn skills to start and further develop a career. Like most companies, we have performance expectations for every Amazon employee and we measure actual performance against those expectations. Safety is a top priority for us, which is why we support people who are not performing to the levels expected with dedicated coaching to help them improve and work with them to find new responsibilities in the fulfillment center to align with their abilities. At Amazon, we respect the individual rights of associates and have an open-door policy that encourages associates to bring their comments and concerns directly to their management team."

Additionally, here is a statement on Amazon’s compensation and benefits.

"Full-time employees at Amazon receive competitive hourly wages and a comprehensive benefits package, including healthcare, 401(k) and company stock awards starting on day one. Amazon also offers regular full-time employees maternity and parental leave benefits and access to innovative programs like Career Choice, where it will pre-pay up to 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a career at Amazon. Since the program's launch, more than 10,000 employees have pursued degrees in game design and visual communications, nursing, IT programming and radiology, to name a few."

Worker Says Conditions Are Harsh At Local Amazon Distribution ...

"It can be really scary." A local worker tells us what's really going on at Jacksonville's Amazon Distribution Center.

Posted by Action News Jax on Monday, November 20, 2017

Several employees at Amazon reached out to Action News Jax after our story aired and combatted those claims and said they enjoy working on the warehouse floor.