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'Peak Amazon' as Robot Sets Off Bear Spray, Sending 24 Fulfillment Center Workers to Hospital


'Peak Amazon' as Robot Sets Off Bear Spray, Sending 24 Fulfillment Center Workers to Hospital

Jessica Corbett, staff writer

At least one person was in critical condition and 24 were hospitalized after a robot accidentally punctured a 9oz. aerosol can of bear repellent at an Amazon warehouse in Robbinsville Township, New Jersey on Wednesday, causing dozens of employees to experience trouble breathing.

"This is another outrageous example of the company putting profits over the health and safety of their workers, and we cannot stand for this."
—Stuart Appelbaum, union leader


‘Rachael Lighty, a spokeswoman for Amazon, claimed in a statement to the Washington Post that “the safety of our employees is our top priority.”’

Gee, I wonder how much time they spend on this issue during their quarterly conference call with shareholders. Oh wait a second, I don’t wonder after all…


Gee America is starting to look great again! Its the christmas season and giving is a must so let’s all use our phones to order from Amazon. We don’t need no stinkin local bookstore or any other store we just need the world’s richest man to smile on us and bless us with minimum wage jobs and provide cheap junk from China. While your at it order the Washington post. It is the written voice of the world’s richest man otherwise known as fake news. Oh and the women swoon and show their chest while the men drool with jealousy over the power of rich white men. Isn’t America great already?


And, order some Bear Spray while you’re at it.


When Amazon workers agitate on picket lines to collectively bargain, the pepper spray will come out of multiple cans from militarized police robots.


Lest we forget, do remember to buy a Xmas tree and further subsidize the destruction of 15 billion trees annually, which are the only known impediment to our immediate climate induced extinction.


Please don’t get my imagination working so early in the day, it’s scary. And all too real.


Too late, the imagination is kicking in. First it’s a few tear gassed in a crowd then it is the whole protest march like Dorothy and friends in the poppy field…


The working conditions at Amazon are typical – or even better than – the vast majority of workplaces in the U.S. Go into any industrial establishment and you will find robots doing all kinds of horrible things to human beings and the human beings suffering all kinds of sicknesses and injuries from trying to keep up with fast-paced machines, short (if any) breaks, dangerous equipment, lousy maintenance, etc.

Go into any slaughterhouse/packing plant and you will realize that workers are working in huge refrigerators covered with greases and fats and blood for long hours at low pay.

Go into any industrial cow shed, chicken shed or pig shed and it is more of the same and add in the pollution of vast amounts of animal wastes.

Go into any agribusiness field and you will find workers immersed in toxic chemicals doing stoop labor and picking at piece-rate for hours at end. Even in so-called “organic” fields which may have fewer direct chemicals and GMOs -but the rest is the same.

When did you take your last piss? Many workers must hold it for most of the day. When did you last wash your hands or have a drink of clean water? These are luxuries in contemporary workplaces, whether they are industrial, agricultural, commercial or service. Even many “professional workers” suffer under these conditions.

Not to mention lack of sleep and working while sick. No Never mention those.

So is working for Amazon bad? Damned right it is. But it’s only the tip of the iceberg of working almost anywhere in the neoliberal empire.

Stories like this, that childishly divide political-economics into a “good-guys/bad-guys” duality while essentially ignoring the structures and processes of the neoliberal capitalist system, are part of the problem.


I envision Bezos’s PR department releasing a statement something like “But, but our employees were safe from bears”.


Since we’re all having a good Ole time about the robot and the bear spray, check this out if you like to laugh…


What can exploitation of human beings at this level turn into except “factory farming”
of employees?

By its more polite name, this is “wage slavery” and every American has to recognize
that it’s coming for the rest of us.


Yes, funny. Especially from a homey gal.


If we are going to have a retirement community, and a working one too, and an automated takeover at the same time , concessions have to be made. And employers won’t like it.
When a robot eliminates a human job that human has to be made whole with another job, or a retirement package. Either that or the creation of a new category of social security recipient.
Republicans would like to see us accept the job lost people piled up somewhere and just go away.


gand –

First let me remind everyone, for those who may not know, that it is our Federal
Reserve Bank – a private bank – which has long been in charge of decisions over
whether or not the nation will have full employment …

and each and every year they have reduced the number of employed in the US to
where we are now at a level of about 51% of citizens employed.

This is a political question which should be debated openly in our Congress and the
decision made there by officials we elect – not by a private bank we have no control over.
By this means they relieved Congress of the power (and responsibility) for these decisions.

Actually, as automation began to take jobs of humans there were originally plans for just
what you are saying. Longshoremen displaced by the concept of “containerization” where
packages were no longer loaded and unloaded by human beings did for a time enjoy some
kind of compensation when they were laid off.

But these are EXCEPTIONAL times that we are living in now, with no honor among men,
and much of the original thinking on the welfare of employees has been pushed aside for
the benefit of Elites/corporations. All of our government has been corrupted.

Most of the structure of Social Security has long been under attack …
Citizens with major health problems now have to hire LAWYERS to be even be heard or to
claim benefits. Social Security COLA’s meant to offset inflation (6%+) have also been pretty
much eliminated by being reduced to a tiny percentage of what they originally were – or
should have been when Obama took office in 2008 and STOPPED COLA’s for two full years.
Then appointed Alan Simpson/GOP former Senator who spent most of his years in Congress
attacking Social Security to oversee the COLA program.

What I am suggesting is that IF citizens decide to stop cooperating with Elites/Capitalism
that as we rotate the “pulling of plugs” that there will be a certain amount of increased
unemployment in corporation jobs. My thinking is thatt, as always, those striking would
have to be supported by our communities and/or with green jobs.

But you can’t expect a non-violent revolution to operate without facing such difficulties.
Again, I’m talking about extraordinary times and non-violent revolution.

gand: "When a robot eliminates a human job that human has to be made whole with another job, or a retirement package. Either that or the creation of a new category of social security recipient.
Republicans would like to see us accept the job lost people piled up somewhere and just go away."


Nice comment Tom. You point out the horrid effects of the governments attack on unions and the effects on all American workers. If you are an hourly wage earner you should be fighting for a union in your work place.


I can picture George on Seinfeld saying “They’re Screwing Us.”


Even professional workers have to organize, though I gotta say at the age of 69 I aint leading the charge because I know the high costs of organizing and the hard work it takes. They never tell you about that in “union school”.


Dives, Tom has been involved in labor organizing for years.


Kudos to Tom from a union member and sometime steward from a few years ago.