Back to top Jump to featured resources

Featured Articles

Featured Article filed under Independent Business | Written by Olivia LaVecchia | No Comments | Updated on Feb 7, 2017

When It Comes to Working People, Amazon Isn’t Innovative at All

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/amazon-workers/

The Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) recently released an in-depth report on Amazon, and this week, ILSR and Jobs With Justice partnered to produce a fact sheet that looks at how Amazon is undermining working people. This post highlights ILSR’s findings on how this fast-growing corporation is increasingly at the center of many alarming economic trends.

People working at an Amazon warehouse. Photo by Scott Lewis.

When an Amazon box lands on the doorstep in as little as an hour after it’s ordered, it can seem like magic. Behind that magic, though, lies a vast network of warehouses—often nondescript, windowless buildings on the outskirts of cities—where tens of thousands of people unload and sort goods, pick and pack orders, and prepare to deliver those boxes.

These women and men describe their jobs as exceptionally grueling. They report racing across warehouses that can sprawl the distance of more than a dozen football fields; frequent bending and squatting; and production quotas that are set impossibly high—by one measure 60 percent above the industry standard. “The worst part was getting on my hands and knees 250 to 300 times a day,” a man working as a picker in a Pennsylvania warehouse told the paper The Morning Call, adding that he was expected to pick 1,200 items in a 10-hour shift, and that frequently involved fishing items out of bins near the floor. “It’s actually impossible to meet the productivity standards and do so safely,” Beth Gutelius, a researcher who has studied Amazon, told us.

Despite these demands and risks, Amazon treats its employees as expendable. Roughly 40 percent of the people working in Amazon warehouses are temporary employees who lack job benefits and security. Though Amazon refers to these positions as “seasonal,” we found that it relies on temporary employees year-round and hires many of these workers through staffing agencies.  By not hiring people directly, Amazon skirts liability for injuries and mistreatment they suffer on the job.

Amazon’s regular direct hires are scarcely better off. Average wages for warehouse work are already low, and Amazon pays its employees even less.  We looked at Amazon’s wages in 11 metro areas and found that it pays an average of 15 percent less than the prevailing wage for comparable work. In Atlanta, for instance, where Amazon has three large facilities, Amazon’s wages are 19 percent lower than the prevailing warehouse wage, and 29 percent below the living wage for the region. Continue reading

Featured Article, Resource filed under Composting, Waste to Wealth | Written by Brenda Platt | No Comments | Updated on Feb 10, 2017

Hierarchy to Reduce Food Waste & Grow Community

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/food-waste-hierarchy/

We’ve developed this Hierarchy to Reduce Waste & Grow Community in order to highlight the importance of locally based composting solutions as a first priority over large-scale regional solutions. Composting can be small scale and large scale and everything in between but too often home composting, onsite composting, community scale composting, and on-farm composting are… Continue reading

Featured Article, ILSR Press Room filed under Composting, Waste to Wealth | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Feb 8, 2017

Press Release: Brenda Platt Receives Major Composting Award for Grassroots Advocacy

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/release-platt-grassroots-award/

LOS ANGELES – Brenda Platt, Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) co-director and director of ILSR’s Waste to Wealth initiative, was honored on Wednesday, January 18th, 2017, with the US Composting Council’s prestigious H. Clark Gregory Award, “for outstanding service to the composting industry through grassroots efforts.” Continue reading

Featured Article, Resource filed under Composting, Waste to Wealth, Zero Waste & Economic Development | Written by Nick Stumo-Langer | No Comments | Updated on Feb 9, 2017

Bolstering Waste Recovery Through Model Legislation – Episode 11 of the Building Local Power Podcast

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/waste-recovery-episode-11-of-the-building-local-power-podcast/

In this episode, Christopher Mitchell, the director of ILSR’s Community Broadband Networks initiative, interviews Brenda Platt, ILSR co-director and director of our Waste to Wealth initiative. The two discuss the history of ILSR’s Zero Waste work and how the conversation around composting and waste has changed in her 30 years at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. Continue reading

Featured Article filed under Broadband | Written by Lisa Gonzalez | No Comments | Updated on Feb 8, 2017

Despite Intense Bipartisan Opposition, Virginia’s Anti-Municipal Broadband HB 2108 Passes

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at https://ilsr.org/despite-intense-bipartisan-opposition-virginias-anti-municipal-broadband-hb-2108-passes/

On February 7th, the Virginia House of Delegates voted 72 – 24 to pass HB 2108, otherwise known as “Byron’s Bad Broadband Bill.” The text of the bill was a revised version substituted by Del. Kathy Byron after Governor Terry McAuliffe, local leaders across the state, and constituents very handily let her know that they… Continue reading