Jason Del Rey

Recent Posts by Jason Del Rey

As Amazon’s Stock Hits All-Time High, Warehouse Issues Under Scrutiny

If you’re an Amazon investor, you’re happy these days. The company’s stock price surpassed $400 for the first time ever this week, only five months after it topped $300 per share for the first time. Things are looking up, and the drones haven’t even arrived yet.

But inside Amazon, another issue is getting attention: What Bloomberg Businessweek’s Brad Stone referred to earlier this week as “a small but growing drumbeat of dissatisfaction” in its network of warehouses.

As Stone first reported earlier this week, about 30 workers in a Delaware Amazon facility will vote next month on whether to hold union elections there. Amazon, which has long fought against unionization at its facilities, has retained the services of a well-known employment law firm, in the event the workers’ union plans move forward.

That news was followed later in the week by the story, broken by AllThingsD, about the death of a worker at a facility owned by Amazon, but run by a third-party logistics firm called Genco. Although the victim, who police later identified as 57-year-old Ronald Smith of Irvington, New Jersey, was hired by a temp staffing firm, his death raised questions about the training of such workers.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is now investigating the accident.

Separately, an ongoing battle between Amazon and some of its German workers who have organized strikes on several occasions over the past year over wages, recently crossed over to U.S. soil. On Monday, a few dozen German union representatives protested outside Amazon’s Seattle warehouses.

In many ways, Amazon is on a roll. But certain workplace issues don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

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— Valleywag editor Sam Biddle