Amazon imposes 10-hour ‘megacycle’ shifts on workers
Amazon is known for being one of the biggest retail e-commerce companies in the world creating challenges with having enough workers. Instead of investing in more workers, Amazon has quietly transitioned into implementing 10-hour graveyard shifts dubbed the “megacycle.”
On January 25 the Amazon warehouse in Chicago, DCH1, presented warehouse workers with an ultimatum of signing up for a graveyard shift over 10 hours long or losing their job. DCH1 management informed the workers that the warehouse will shut down for two weeks and offering workers the ‘choice’ of working graveyard “megacycle” shift from 1:20 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. for the Chicago warehouse.
Last week, ~350 workers at DCH1, one of the best organized warehouses in the country, in Chicago, learned their warehouse was shutting down. They have less than 2 weeks to decide whether to move to a new warehouse to work "megacycle" or lose their jobs. https://t.co/YWwNMahYmM
— Lauren Kaori Gurley (@LaurenKGurley) February 4, 2021
In response to this ultimatum, the DCH1 warehouse is a target to petitions, protests, and walkouts organized by workers calling for changes in Amazon’s nationwide warehouse policies. The closure of DCH1 forces workers to choose between keeping their jobs in the midst of a pandemic and their lives outside of Amazon.
The warehouse workers have formed an organization DCH1 Amazonians United to fight against cruel working conditions and promote family-friendly corporate responsibility. Despite the warehouse workers fighting against the “megacycle” shifts, Amazon is quietly implementing the “megacycles” in warehouses nationwide.
An Amazon spokesperson confirmed that more than half of its last-mile delivery network has transitioned into implementing this new shift model. DCH1 warehouse workers were previously offered several shift options including a four-hour morning shift, a five-hour morning shift, and an eight-hour shift ending at 4:45 a.m.
The DCH1 Amazonians United disclosed moving forward rank-and-file workers will only have the megacycle shift option that is considered mandatory for all warehouse workers. Amazon is moving towards increasing longer nighttime shifts over shorter daytime shifts in efforts to speed up delivery time and increase efficiency at the cost of the workers.
New: Amazon has been quietly transitioning warehouse workers to a so-called "megacycle" shift that starts at around 1AM and ends at lunchtime. Some workers told: take the 10.5 hour shift, which is not practical for mothers, other workers, etc, or lose job https://t.co/W3OhSdyGhB pic.twitter.com/ZftXnxRHe2
— Joseph Cox (@josephfcox) February 4, 2021
The smallest type of Amazon warehouse, delivery station, where packages are prepared by warehouse workers for last-mile deliveries to customers’ homes that increases the speed of delivery time. Since August, Amazon has plans to open 1,000 new delivery stations in the U.S. to improve the guaranteed two-day delivery times that were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
An Amazon representative disclosed that the transition to the megacycle shift provides a larger window for customers to place orders and improving the station experience. This new system also claims to make it easier for different delivery stations to work together during the shipping process.
Labor experts argue that consolidating shifts in the warehouse industry is a tactic used by employers to cut back on labor costs by hiring and scheduling fewer workers to avoid paying benefits. DCH1 Amazonians United is working with affiliated organizations including Amazonians United New York and Sacramento.
The Amazon warehouses in Sacramento have transitioned to “megacycle” shifts and the delivery station in Queens, New York is worried the megacycle will be coming to their facility next. The Queens delivery station has yet to start the transition into “megacycle” shifts but workers want to maintain their schedule and avoid “megacycle” shifts.
An Amazon representative maintains no layoffs will occur at recently opened Chicago delivery stations while providing employees individual coaching for placement in one of three stations. Despite Amazon’s promises, DCH1 workers disclose that management has refused to offer workers any accommodations resulting in the loss of their jobs.
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