Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
June, 2019 - Mount Denali, Alaska

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Hitch in the Process

Yesterday was our orientation day at Amazon. We were told it would be from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. The first order of business was to take everyone’s picture for the ID tags. Then we walked through part of the warehouse to one of the training rooms.

There the group of 38 was split into two. Our group went on the two hour safety training tour. Everyone was given a radio with an earphone so we could hear our leader. That worked very well. He took us all around the warehouse, and showed us everything we needed to know about safety. He taught us how to be safe around the conveyor belts and fork lift trucks. We learned the correct way to push the carts, lift boxes, move pallets, pick up totes, etc. Most of it was common sense, but we got a good look at the warehouse. It’s huge, over one million square feet. Crisplant, which is the packing area for multi-item orders, was the loudest part of the plant due to a chain conveyor system that goes around overhead.

After we were done with the safety tour, we went back to the training room for lunch. They provided us with turkey and beef sandwiches, veggies and dip, and soda or water. It was simple but good. They raffled off a few prizes, tote bags, coffee mugs, shirts. We didn’t win.

After lunch the second group went on the safety tour, and we watched videos on harassment, diversity, business ethics, the usual HR stuff. We sat around for a few hours doing nothing while they got each person set up with passwords and checked documentation. This afternoon session seemed rather disorganized. There was paperwork to complete, and then we finally left at 6:30 p.m. We got paid for all hours we were there, so, although sitting around for a few hours with nothing to do was a bit annoying, it wasn’t all that bad.

We had a chance to talk to some of the other people. A few were returning. I was surprised they had to go through the whole orientation process again.

The hitch came when we were told what our jobs would be. They didn’t tell us until the end of the day after we had already done all of the rest of the process. We were told we would be working as packers in Crisplant on the night shift. WHAT????? That’s not at all what we thought we signed up for!

When we had our phone interview and were hired in April, we were asked what our preferences were. We told Paul, the interviewer, that we did not think we could stand in one place for 10 hours and would prefer walking. He suggested the picker job for us. We also told him we wanted to work days. Kevin and I both got the impression from that interview that we would be given the job of pickers on the day shift.

So, you can imagine that we were pretty shocked to find out that we were given the exact opposite of what we asked for. Paul was doing the training, so we talked to him about it. He said there must have been a mistake, but didn’t know if he could do anything about it at this time. He told us he would try to get us on days.

Those of you who know me, know that I am so not a night person. Working from 5:00 p.m. to 3:30 a.m. is going to be very hard for me. I have a very hard time sleeping during the day. We were also given the doughnut shift which is Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. We would have preferred working four days in a row, so we could have three days off. Oh well, that’s not the worst. We can deal with that.

So, we start our night shift job today. I’m going to give it a try and hope that Paul can get us switched to days. Kevin is much more of a night person, so he thinks he can handle it. Time will tell, but I’m pretty bummed about all of this.

The good news is that the night shift gets paid $11.00 per hour rather than $10.50.

There was one other thing that was different than we were led to believe. When we were hired, we thought we would each get a $500 bonus if we stayed through Dec. 23rd. That’s not the case. You get a bonus of 50 cents per hour you work, if you stay until the end. That’s more like $250 to $300 per person depending on how much overtime there will be.

So, I’m not too thrilled about this turn of events. But, we drove all the way down here, and we are going to do our best to make it work for us. Who knows, maybe it wont’ be as bad as I think.

There are no phones or cameras allowed inside the plant, so I won’t be able to show you any pictures. Just believe me when I tell you it’s massive.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!