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Opinion >  Letters

Assembly workers expectations

I am an industrial engineer who worked manufacturing at a Ford Assembly Plant, John Deere and Link Belt. One of our tasks was to time-study workers doing repetitive tasks - similar to pulling stock in an Amazon warehouse. Towards the end of a particular task, we would “normalize” the time by estimating whether that studied worker was working somewhere between 80 and 120 percent. 100 percent was what an average worker working an 8-hour shift could produce in an average day. 100 percent is actually a fairly leisurely pace but does require one to keep moving in an efficient manner. Administratively, there was time allowed for breaks, lunch and delays like “waiting for materials.” These production times were then applied to assembly lines and piece work.

What Amazon appears to be doing is to “normalize” the required time to 120 percent and quickly fire anyone working below that torrid pace. An average person performing to the best of his ability would likely be fired in short order. Legally, I see likely age discrimination for older workers. These conditions for minimum wage appear morally questionable as well. Amazon employees need to form a union and teach Jeff Bezos some humanity.

Leonard Butters

Spokane


 

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