It’s way bigger than a Wal-Mart, but with no air conditioning. Our temperature gets up to 115 degrees. Sometimes it feels so hot in there that you just can’t breathe. You have a lot of people go home sick from the heat. To stay cool, people put towels around their necks. They go back and forth getting ice to chew on.
We’re given orders by scanning our badges and totes into a computer system, which tells us what to pull and how quickly it has to be done. Back when I started in 1999, the rate wasn’t so bad, but for about a year, they’ve been gradually ratcheting it up. Say the old rate was 100 orders a day. Now they’re up to 160, sometimes even higher.
I’ve talked to some of the coordinators who add up the numbers at night. They’ve told me that it’s impossible to meet the rate that they want with the amount of people that we have. So we have to work longer. We already worked 10 hours a day. Now we work another hour or two hours overtime, sometimes with last-minute notice. If we refuse to stay longer, we get disciplined.
Sylvia, a warehouse worker interviewed by Mother Jones. This is the future that awaits many Americans if we don’t fight for a more equitable economic system.