Wealth Disparity at Amazon: Besos Worth $200B, Workers in Need

According to a new research report, Amazon warehouse workers are struggling to get by on their paychecks from one of the worlds most profitable companies. 

Amazon Workers Struggle

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A new report suggests that half of all warehouse workers at Amazon are now struggling to afford basic living costs, and are either living paycheck-to-paycheck or unable to pay all of their bills in a week.

CUED Report

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The report comes from the Center for Urban Economic Development at the University of Illinois Chicago. It surveyed 1,484 Amazon workers employed at 451 warehouse facilities across the US.

A Significant Study

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So far it is the largest nationwide study done of Amazon workers to date, with a focus on the economic security and wellbeing of the average Amazon worker. And the results have raised some concerns. 

Questions for Workers

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Researchers asked participants whether they worried about keeping up with bills, particularly rent and mortgage payments, and if they had experienced any food insecurity in recent months.

Half Experience Food Insecurity

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According to the report, 53% of warehouse workers have experienced some form of food insecurity in the past 3 months. 

Housing Insecurity and Public Assistance Programs

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Another 48% have experienced some form of housing insecurity during the same period, and over half have not been able to pay their outstanding bills in the same time period. Another third have had to seek out public assistance programs due to financial insecurity.

Injury Reports and Time Off

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The report also included further statistics about the time employees had to take off due to health impacts, rates of injury reports, and feelings of pressure and stress while working. 

A “Health Toll”

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The report concluded that Amazon’s working conditions were taking a “health toll” on its workers which led to a heightened need to take unpaid time off, which in turn led to worse financial conditions. 

Amazon Worker Speaks Out

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It also included a statement from one Linda Howard, a warehouse worker who worked at Amazon for 6 years at their Atlanta warehouse facility.

“Forced Out of Their Homes”

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“Many Amazon associates cannot pay their bills, they can’t afford proper housing — some of my coworkers have been forced out of their homes,” she told researchers.

“Stuck in a Nightmare”

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“We are stuck in a nightmare: Living in an economy that puts no cap on worker exploitation, while our wages can’t keep up with the increase in our cost of living,” she continued. “This cycle has to stop.”

Study Authors Speak 

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Sanjay Pinto, a co-author of the study and a senior fellow at CUED released a statement on Wednesday addressing the results of the survey, and what it says about major US employers like Amazon. 

“The Goalpsots Have Shifted”

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“This research indicates just how far the goalposts have shifted. It used to be the case that big, leading firms in the economy provided a path to the middle class and relative economic security,” Pinto claimed. 

Links Between Health Issues and Finances

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“The findings we report are the first we know of to show an association between the company’s health and safety issues and experiences of economic insecurity among its workforce,” said Dr. Beth Gutelius, Pinto’s co-author and research director at CUED.

Unpaid Time Off Effects Security

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“Workers having to take unpaid time off due to pain or exhaustion are far more likely to experience food and housing insecurity, and difficulty paying their bills,” she added.

An Uneasy Contrast

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The high rates of economic instability among Amazon warehouse workers stand in stark contrast to the company, which is one of the most profitable corporations in the world.

First Quarter Earnings

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Earlier this month the e-commerce behemoth released its Q1 earnings report which showed $143.3B in revenue for the first three months of the year, up by 12.5% from last year. 

Enormous Wealth for Amazon

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Amazon currently ranks as the third largest company in the world, with a market cap of $1.91 trillion. Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos is the second richest person in the world with a net worth of $201.4 billion, according to Forbes. 

Amazon Responds

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Steve Kelly, a spokesperson for Amazon, responded directly to questions about the survey, denying its claims and calling the research methodology “deeply flawed.” He added that Amazon had not only raised average workers’ pay across the board but provided numerous medical, dental, and retirement benefits, which was not mentioned by the study.  

A “Flawed” Methodology? 

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“It’s a survey that ignores best practices for surveying, has limited verification safeguards to confirm respondents are Amazon employees and doesn’t prevent multiple responses from the same person,” he told reporters in an email.

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The post Wealth Disparity at Amazon: Besos Worth $200B, Workers in Need first appeared on Liberty & Wealth.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

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