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‘Colony of hell’: Amazon employee suicide threats tied to ‘dehumanizing’ workplace conditions at warehouses

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Newly revealed recordings show dozens of emergency calls made from Amazon warehouses for employees threatening suicide — and many of them blamed brutal and dehumanizing work conditions for their depression.

Over a five-year period between October 2013 and October 2018, emergency workers were called at least 189 times to 46 different Amazon warehouses in 17 states for suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts or other mental health emergencies, according to 911 call logs and first responder reports analyzed by The Daily Beast.

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Amazon and its amazingly wealthy owner Jeff Bezos has faced criticism for years about working conditions in its warehouses, where employees complain about silence, isolation and job duties that are both stressful and boring.

“They treat us like robots,” said one employee who went on leave after threatening suicide at a warehouse in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Managers closely monitor employees and flag any slowdown longer than a few minutes, and former employees said they regularly worked 12-hour shifts with just two 30-minute breaks and one 15-minute break.

“It’s this isolating colony of hell where people having breakdowns is a regular occurrence,” said Jace Crouch, who had an emotional crisis on the job at a Lakeland, Florida, warehouse.

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Crouch said it was “mentally taxing to do the same task super fast for 10-hour shifts, four or five days a week,” and the stress followed him home.

“It made it really hard for me to deal with that dehumanization at work,” Crouch said. “I would come home, not talk to anyone, sit in bed, and cry.”

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Some employees told the website they struggled to get promised compensation after they were placed on leave, and others said counseling was either insufficient or too expensive — and some say they were fired.

Amazon told The Daily Beast that the company values the health of its employees, and suggested the number of suicide calls were an “overgeneralization” that “doesn’t take into account the total of our associate population, hours worked, or our growing network.”

“The physical and mental well-being of our associates is our top priority, and we are proud of both our efforts and overall success in this area,” the company said in a statement.

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“We provide comprehensive medical care starting on day one so employees have access to the care when they need it most, 24-hour a day free and confidential counseling services, and various leave and medical accommodation options covering both mental and physical health concerns.”

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump Twitter-rages at ‘evil propaganda machine’ New York Times

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President Donald Trump kicked off his Sunday morning by going on a multi-tweet rant about the New York Times where he blamed them for his poor poll numbers and called them "an evil propaganda machine.'

Trump began with, "The Failing New York Times, in one of the most devastating portrayals of bad journalism in history, got caught by a leaker that they are shifting from their Phony Russian Collusion Narrative (the Mueller Report & his testimony were a total disaster), to a Racism Witch Hunt....., " before adding, "'Journalism' has reached a new low in the history of our Country. It is nothing more than an evil propaganda machine for the Democrat Party. The reporting is so false, biased and evil that it has now become a very sick joke...But the public is aware! #CROOKEDJOURNALISM."

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Trump suggests hitting France with 100 percent tariff on wine over dispute with Macron

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According to a report from Bloomberg, President Donald Trump publicly suggested that he would consider a 100 percent tariff on wines coming from France.

The report states that the president recently made the suggestion as part of his trade war that has crippled American manufacturers and farmers while at the same time hitting American consumers' wallets.

Trump's comments came during a recent Long Island fundraiser and were tied to his unhappiness with President Emmanuel Macron and his tax on multinational technology companies.

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Gun found in FedEx package sent from US to China

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Chinese authorities have found at least one firearm in a FedEx package sent from the US, local police said Sunday, in the latest incident to befall the logistics firm in China.

Police in Fuzhou, eastern Fujian province, said "in recent days" they had received a tip about a package sent to a Fujian-based sporting goods company.

The parcel was sent by a US client and contained at least one firearm, said Jin'an district police through their official Twitter-like Weibo account.

The firearm has been seized and officers are investigating, they added, without specifying the number of weapons in the package.

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