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What happens when Amazon becomes a fixture in America’s towns and cities?
Erica Hayasaki wrote a recent article for The New York Times Magazine about Amazon’s influence on the Inland Empire, located east of Los Angeles, with the company being the largest private employer. More than 40,000 people in the area handle or deliver Amazon orders since two years ago.
I spoke with Hayasaki, a professor in the literary journalism program at the University of California, Irvine, that he learned to research Amazon workers in the field and what its effects are – good and bad – when Amazon comes to town.
Shira: Are you interested in writing about the Amazon in the Inland Empire?
Hayasaki: My family moved to a city called Eastvale in 2018, and Amazon’s presence became immediately apparent. Near Costco, you see Amazon’s giant warehouses with over 6,000 employees in total. You see Amazon semi-trucks and new homes with Amazon products such as Alexa manufactured.
Officials at Ontario International Airport showed me runways that were partially under construction to fly in and out of Amazon cargo. We see Amazon as shoppers all the time, but it is different here. I started talking with the workers about what it was for them.
What did the employees at Amazon Warehouse tell you about what they like about their jobs and what they don’t?
They appreciate that Amazon offers them health and retirement benefits – and they have a job at a time when many others have lost work.
The biggest concern I heard was safety. This is not new, but when the epidemic hit, it was intense to hear the labors’ apprehension for their lives.
And some jobs related to Amazon are uncertain. I rode with an Amazon delivery driver who also worked for an app-based delivery company. His girlfriend also did. He was piecing together several forms of income for himself and his five children. This is not an easy way to live.
Is amazon Creation of many new jobs This is twice the minimum salary with the starting salary. Is not it good?
Most of the workers I spoke with said that Amazon could do better given the company’s financial success. I heard workers ask why the company raised their wages to $ 2 per hour but only temporarily. They are working harder than ever and it is still an epidemic.
For Eastvale, what is the impact of having Amazon there?
City officials said they appreciated the new jobs created by Amazon, but they feared that automation could gradually eliminate work. And because of the way state taxes are structured, the city is getting less tax revenue from Amazon’s presence.
City officials also said that with so many Amazon vehicles there is a lot of wear and tear on the roads. And with so many people on the Amazon site, it generates a lot of calls to police and emergency services for worker injuries or just fender benders. It is a stretch on local resources.
Your article discussed “company cities” – cities like Hershey, Pa, which were once dominated by a single employer. Is Eastwell like this?
No, unlike company cities of the past, Amazon does not control housing for employees or replace government functions. But there are some elements in the Inland Empire that remind of company cities. One that struck me was an Amazon career program for high school students. People spoke highly of it, but others in the community questioned the teenager being put on a route to an Amazon job.
Shoshna Zuboff, a professor emeritus at Harvard Business School, told me that the Amazon company is beyond the city phenomenon. This is a corporate world. Seeing Amazon’s presence in our lives, its size, and how many people the company employs is a combination unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Tip of the week
When to change your gadgets
Are you wondering how old your living room is for that television set or internet router? New York Times Personal Technology Columnist Brian x. Chain To consider replacing four important gadgets in our lives.
I am an advocate for building your technique for as long as you possibly can. But at some point, it is time to replace your phone, computer, TV set, and Internet router. However, it is difficult to know. Here’s a cheat letter to consider retiring your current model:
Smartphones: It is wise to change your device when your phone cannot receive operating system updates. When this happens, some of your favorite apps may stop working properly, and you won’t be able to easily increase the security that protects you from attacks and malware.
Apple iPhones can usually receive software updates for five years, and Android phones typically receive software updates for two to three years.
computer: Likewise, when your computer can no longer receive important software updates, it’s probably time to leave. But Windows and Mac PCs get these updates longer than smartphones – from nine to 15 years. (I’m still rocking an iMac that I bought nine years ago.)
Within that time frame, however, other parts such as your hard drive, laptop battery, or screen may fail. When repair costs become impractical, looking for a new model can take time.
Television sets: If you don’t miss the improvement in video quality, you can hold onto TV for decades. But also think about what connects to your set. If your TV is old enough that you can’t plug in modern devices you want to use – video game consoles, streaming video sticks, and audio equipment – then it’s probably time to retire.
Internet router: Your Wi-Fi Hub is an important piece of infrastructure that affects everything connecting to your home Internet. Generally, new Wi-Fi technologies affected the market every five years. If your router is more than five years old, you may want to get on the latest Wi-Fi technology, as you will probably see meaningful improvements in speed and coverage.
Before we leave …
Online dissatisfaction vs. online repression: Antigovernment protests showed the ability of the people of Russia to use YouTube, Instagram and TikTok to challenge their government. My colleague Anton Troyanovsky writes that Russia is now trying to control online discontent rather than employing its power for widespread Chinese-style Internet censorship.
The Times media columnist Ben Smith has also written about Russian investigative news outlets using surveillance and corruption tools of government officials.
A home option on Twitter: News organization Rest of World interviewed the founder of Ku, a Twitter alternative in India, and got lost in the complexities of the app being adopted by right-wing figures after the government collided with Twitter.
Art is weird, okay? Erin Griffith wrote about people spending big bucks on copies of digital goods such as old online videos, and an animated cat’s Internet meme with a pop-tart body. And yes, it includes blockchain.
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