Amazon Warehouse Workers on the Front Line

Amazon Warehouse Workers on the Front Line

April 26, 2020

Amazon operates more than 175 distribution centers primarily in North America and Europe.  Warehouse workers are concerned about the virus impact on their health and their family’s health.

Amazon has experienced more demand given online sales have increased as many consumers are in self-isolation or working from home.  While Amazon looks to add 100,000 workers quickly and require many current employees to work overtime, the work conditions cannot honor the social distancing recommendations.  Amazon is performing more cleaning, but the fact remains that the nature of the work and the demand increase put workers at increased risk.


Video Spotlight: 


This post is based on the CNN article, Amazon warehouse workers fear catching coronavirus just to get you your packages, by Sara Ashley O’Brien and Nathaniel Meyersohn, March 20, 2020, and the YouTube videos in the Spotlight Continue reading

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Robots Are Real in Strawberry Fields

Robots Are Real in Strawberry Fields

Picking delicate fruit such as berries has long been off-limits for robots. Not any longer if Harvest CROO Robotics succeeds in automating this process.

Its robots with a “gentle touch” are touted to make up for a declining work force and ensure the long-term affordability of produce. Currently, both unions and farmers seem to embrace the new technology.


Video Spotlight: See the Harvest robot at work


This post is based on the Washington Post article, Farmworker vs Robot, by D. Paquette, February 17, 2019, and the YouTube video, Gary Wishnatzki of Harvest CROO Robotics, by Harvest CROO, November 6, 2018. Image source: PKKoala/Shutterstock

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the external factors providing opportunities for Harvest?

Guidance: Political/legal (tighter immigration policies) and economic factors (shrinking American labor pool) raise the prospects of much higher prices for produce if automation does not replace human labor. Technological factors (advances in robotics) help Harvest equip farmers with the necessary tools to make up for labor shortages and improve productivity since robots do not take breaks and do not need benefits.

2. What are the foreseeable limitations of the technology in the short term?

Guidance: Currently, the robots still lag Continue reading

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