|Amazon to Give Tours of Warehouses
By: Jessica Cherok
Now you can visit your favorite online retail giant! That’s right; you and anyone over the age of six can take a tour of a giant warehouse.
Actually, it’s a little cooler than just a “giant warehouse.” The online retail giant, Amazon, has opened its doors for public tours. The tours are an hour long, and available at six of Amazon’s 37 warehouses in the U.S.
Booking one is as simple as ordering online. Just go to the site and select either the first or third Tuesday of the month.
What makes the tours more compelling is that Amazon has long been very secretive about showing off its operations. While the secrecy is likely the result of Amazon’s attempt to protect its operations secrets from competitors, there are some who believe it also had to do with workplace conditions.
There has been harsh criticism of how Amazon employees working within these warehouses were treated. In 2011, workers from Amazon’s Lehigh Valley warehouse complained of soaring temperatures and mandatory overtime. As many as 20 employees from the warehouse told of terrible working conditions, impossible production schedules, as well as poor treatment from management.
Amazon, who strives to keep costs low, was accused of taking the practice too far. When temperatures hit 102 degrees and 15 employees collapsed, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) stepped in. OSHA conducted an inspection and cited Amazon for unsafe working conditions. Amazon has since addressed working conditions at the Lehigh Valley location.
Such reports offered a stark contrast to the happy, bustling Amazon image portrayed by the company. The company made efforts to combat the negative publicity. Perhaps these new warehouse tours are part of that continued image cleanup.
Jessica Cherok is an advocate for online privacy, campaigning for ethical data practices and the protection of personal privacy.
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