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Amazon places profits above the safety of its employees

By Donna
December 18, 2021 9:14 am
Category: News
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See the link at the bottom.

American workers are getting increasingly fed up with corporate America. This morning, I went grocery shopping at Fry's, which is owned by America's largest grocery store company - Kroger. It was our first large grocery purchase. My cart was filled with stuff. It was about 8:00 when I approached the checkout lanes. Not one was open. So I asked one of the employees why. "I'm sorry ma'am. We've had people quit and none of our cashiers showed up this morning". So I had to check out my entire load at a self checkout station. Normally I only use it if I have a small purchase.

This sort of nationwide general strike is for real. Increasingly, workers are refusing to work these shitty minimum wage jobs with lousy to non-existent benefits.

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  1. by Curt_Anderson on December 18, 2021 11:02 am
    The minimum wage in AZ is $12.15. Tucson voters last month overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure to gradually increase the minimum wage in Arizonaís second most populous city to $15 an hour by 2025.

    The profit margin for supermarkets is about 2.2%.

    Boomers are leaving the job market so there is a worker shortage. Store clerks are moving up to better paying jobs.

    Unsurprisingly food cost is going up.

    It's econ 101.

  2. by Donna on December 18, 2021 11:17 am
    Not according to this article. What you said doesn't account for the relatively sudden price increases we've been seeing across the board.

    I didn't know about Tucson increasing its MW. Btw I was making $15 (MW in L.A. County) which I'll continue to make in Tucson.

  3. by Curt_Anderson on December 18, 2021 11:38 am
    I was commenting on your experience shopping at Fry's not the article.

    Nonetheless, I believe I am correct in connecting the greater demand for workers and the low supply of workers with increasing prices. It's not just store clerks. It's all the workers including those on farms and in transportation needed to get food onto our tables.

  4. by Donna on December 18, 2021 11:51 am
    And btw for Kroger, that 2.2% profit margin equaled $2.59 billion in net earnings for 2020. They can afford to pay their employees more. They just choose not to.

    You should be able to remember when people complained that grocery store workers were making way too much money, Grocery store jobs used to be good paying jobs with outstanding benefits. Over the 8+ years I've been merchandising, I've known quite a few grocery store employees who've retired with full pensions and who are now enjoying very comfortable retirements. The younger employees aren't being compensated nearly as well. The days of good paying grocery store jobs are long gone. Same for just about every industry. It's all because of greed. The salaries of corporate executives have increased dramatically over the last 30 or 40 years, substantially more than the workers on the front lines.

    Btw, I lost my career because the company I worked for fired all of their I/T professionals and replaced us with programmer-analysts to whom they paid about a third less.

    It's heartening for me to see so many workers refusing to tolerate this anymore.

  5. by Curt_Anderson on December 18, 2021 12:13 pm
    Kroger employed 465,000 people in 2020. If your $2.59 billion figure and my math are correct that works out to $5569.89 per person.

    Obviously Kroger and Fry's will pay people more if doing so will positively impact profits and they won't if it hurts profits. Or they will automate the job of the clerks with self-service check-out.

    Incidentally, In 1916 the Kroger company began self-service shopping. Prior to that, all stores placed items behind the counter and you'd ask the clerk for them. I expect that check-out clerks will go the way of behind-the-counter clerks.

  6. by Donna on December 18, 2021 4:57 pm
    What's the significance of the $5569.89 figure?

    Kroger started installing self checkout areas at least 5 years ago. Some stores have self checkout areas at both ends of the line of checkstands.

  7. by Curt_Anderson on December 18, 2021 5:52 pm
    That's the Kroger net earnings divided by their number of employees.

    Sure, self-checkout have been around for a while. But I expect there to be no humans checking groceries in the not distant future. Maybe we'll all use self-checkout. Or maybe we will just scan the Universal Product Codes with our phones as we fill our carts.

    The supermarket business must not be a surefire way to make money. Alpha Beta, A&P, Market Basket and many other supermarket chains have gone out of business.

  8. by Donna on December 18, 2021 10:41 pm
    Net earnings is the corporation's take after expenses. Payroll is part of those expenses. That's why I'm puzzled as to why you think that number is significant.

  9. by Curt_Anderson on December 18, 2021 10:58 pm

    $5570 over the course of 52 forty hour work weeks, doesn't seem like a lot of wage flexibility.

  10. by Donna on December 19, 2021 7:51 am
    Ok, I see where you're going. I'm guessing that close to half of Kroger's workforce are part-time and don't get paid for 52 40-hr workweeks. They do that to keep from having to provide workers with benefits.

    The grocery industry is competitive, no doubt, but that's true for most industries, including corporations that Kroger buys its merchandise from. In fact Sheri and I are boycotting two of those companies, Nabisco and Kellogg's, because if their horrible labor practices.

    In 2019, as part of a cost cutting measure, Kroger laid off hundreds of workers in middle-management. I know one of those ex Kroger managers. He works at Smart & Final now and is still bitter that Kroger laid him off after 30 years of employment. I read that Kroger fired those managers to stay competitive with their fiercest competitors which the article's author said are Amazon and Walmart - a classic race to the bottom. Somehow through all that, Kroger managed to give its CEO a 45% ($6.4 million) raise last year.

    Btw, Kroger has been busy buying out grocery stores over the many decades it's been in business, possibly some of the grocery stores you listed as having gone out of business.

  11. by Donna on December 24, 2021 9:55 am
    Amazon distribution favility worker dies of a stroke on the job after requesting to leave work because he was feeling ill and then being told he was out of sick time and would be fired if he left work.

    Another Amazon worker died on the job at the same warehouse within hours of the other worker dying!

    Employees there allege that 6 workers have died on the job at that distribution facility in 2020 and that Amazon has been trying to cover it up.

    Sounds like a Dickens story. What a hellhole.

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