“Our injury rates are sometimes misunderstood,” wrote Amazon CEO Andy Jassy in a recent letter to shareholders. Asserting that the company’s incident rates are “a little higher” than the warehouse industry average, Jassy states that the company nonetheless has room for improvement, and is “dissecting every process path” to lower the rates.
It’s a bold obfuscation. Contra Jassy’s assertions, Amazon’s well-established problem of grinding down its ever-expanding workforce has only gotten more dire, even as the company claims that it seeks to become “Earth’s Safest Place to Work.”
The numbers Jassy uses in his letter are misleading. He writes that Amazon’s warehouse workers are injured at a rate of 6.4 per 100 workers, compared to the industry average of 5.5 per 100 workers. But those are the numbers from 2020 rather than 2021. Last year’s numbers are worse: according to a recent report from the union coalition Strategic Organizing Center (SOC), the total injury rate among Amazon workers in 2021 was 7.9 per 100 workers, a sharp increase from 2020.
Further, comparing Amazon’s rate to the industry average fails to account for the fact that Amazon employs around one-third of all warehouse workers in the United States; much better to compare Amazon’s rate to that of all non-Amazon warehouses. The SOC report does so, finding the serious injury rate at Amazon is more than twice as high as that of its counterparts.