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Mon Mar 30, 2015, 09:47 PM

Amazon Requires Badly-Paid Warehouse Temps to Sign 18-Month Non-Competes


from Naked Capitalism:


Amazon Requires Badly-Paid Warehouse Temps to Sign 18-Month Non-Competes
Posted on March 30, 2015 by Yves Smith


The Verge has broken an important story on how far Amazon has gone in its relentless efforts to crush workers. Despite its glitzy Internet image, Amazon’s operations depend heavily on manual labor to assemble, pack, and ship orders. Its warehouses are sweatshops, with workers monitored constantly and pressed to meet physically daunting productivity goals. Indeed, many of its warehouses were literally sweatshops, reaching as much as 100 degrees in the summer until bad press embarrassed the giant retailer into installing air conditioners. In Germany, a documentary exposed that Amazon hired neo-Nazi security guards to intimidate foreign, often illegal, hires it had recruited and was housing in crowded company-organized housing. Amazon also fought and won a Supreme Court case to escape compensating its poorly-paid warehouse workers for time they spend in line at the end of shift, waiting for security checks.

Amazon’s latest “keep workers down” practice is to make temps sign non-competes. Yes, if you are so desperate and foolish as to take a short-term gig with Amazon, you will be barred from working for virtually anyone else for the next eighteen months. Look at how incredibly broad the language is in the non-compete agreement obtained by The Verge (hat tip MF):

During employment and for 18 months after the Separation Date, Employee will not, directly or indirectly, whether on Employee’s own behalf or on behalf of any other entity (for example, as an employee, agent, partner, or consultant), engage in or support the development, manufacture, marketing, or sale of any product or service that competes or is intended to compete with any product or service sold, offered, or otherwise provided by Amazon (or intended to be sold, offered, or otherwise provided by Amazon in the future) that Employee worked on or supported, or about which Employee obtained or received Confidential Information.


Pray tell, what possible employers are not included, given how sweeping these terms are? A cleaning service? Nah, Amazon sells Roombas and vacuum cleaners, so you’d be competing indirectly with them. A receptionist in a dentist’s office? Nope, Amazon sells tooth whitening products. A massage therapist? No, Amazon sells electronic massage devices. Working as a gym? No, Amazon sells home exercise equipment. And note that this includes “intended to be old, offered, or otherwise provided by Amazon in the future.” Amazon temps are precluded from competing with Amazon vaporware too. ..............(more)

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/03/amazon-requires-badly-paid-warehouse-temps-sign-18-month-non-competes.html




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Reply Amazon Requires Badly-Paid Warehouse Temps to Sign 18-Month Non-Competes (Original post)
marmar Mar 2015 OP
TDale313 Mar 2015 #1
Thor_MN Mar 2015 #2
krawhitham Mar 2015 #3
ohnoyoudidnt Mar 2015 #4
jeff47 Mar 2015 #8
daredtowork Mar 2015 #5
ND-Dem Mar 2015 #6
Gothmog Mar 2015 #7
jeff47 Mar 2015 #9
snooper2 Mar 2015 #10

Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 09:55 PM

1. Disgusting.

It basically means stay working on their shitty terms or don't work for a year and a half.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 10:13 PM

2. Fear tactic. AFAIK, No competes are hard to enforce and Amazon isn't likely to spend money

 

chasing low paid employees into their next jobs.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 11:12 PM

3. Amazon Gets Rid Of Strict Non-Compete Clause For Contract And Temporary Employees

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Response to krawhitham (Reply #3)

Mon Mar 30, 2015, 11:37 PM

4. Only because they saw the potential backlash.

It was a vile policy in the first place. Non-Competes may have a place when it comes to highly skilled labor where training and inside information is involved, but to attempt to implement a policy on basic manual laborers is beyond disgusting.

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Response to ohnoyoudidnt (Reply #4)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 11:15 AM

8. Yeah, Damn them for changing to what we wanted!!!

Non-Competes may have a place when it comes to highly skilled labor

They have no place anywhere.

They're also pretty much not enforceable. There are some very rare and extremely specific cases where they can be enforced. Broad ones, like the one Amazon required these employees to sign, are not.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 02:09 AM

5. I don't think that should be legal.

I'd like to see the Dept. of Labor step in on this. They've really been losing their teeth ever since the Clinton era and the idea that regular labor law didn't apply to "tech jobs" because that might "hinder innovation". Well how long is this "era of innovation" going to last, anyway?

Stop exploiting poor people for the sake of a super rich libertarian who is just going to retire on his own tax-free island somewhere in the South Pacific anyway. Frak that.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 02:37 AM

6. K&R. Amazon is one of the biggest anti-labor operations going. But when I posted a

 

bunch of stuff about it, a lot of DUers responded with "lighten up, I like Amazon" -- even while riding their own personal hobbyhorses for all they were worth.

That was very disillusioning.

However, K&R for this. Maybe things have changed.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 07:15 AM

7. There are issues with these non-competes

I am not sure that a non-compete from a warehouse worker is enforceable without special training and access to trade secrets

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Response to Gothmog (Reply #7)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 11:17 AM

9. Actually, virtually all of them are not enforceable.

Employers routinely require them to be signed. They also can't enforce them unless they are extremely specific about what they forbid - like naming specific competitors and specific secrets.

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Response to marmar (Original post)

Tue Mar 31, 2015, 11:20 AM

10. Test

 

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