My father never worked for Amazon, so I doubt if he ever cried at his desk. In truth, he didn’t have a desk. For that matter I never heard him complain about the food service either, not in the factory one town over where he worked as a machinist.
He never talked much about his working conditions at all, or maybe he did and I wasn’t listening because, hey, this was the way the country ran: men worked in factories so that their baby-boomer children could go to college and not have to work in factories. The children were meant to do better.
My father followed the plan, retired at 65, and died three years later.
It’s too late for remorse, but it’s not too late to scoff at the all the breast-beating and lamentation in progress over the New York Times series on the so-called mistreatment of the white-collar Amazon employees. And though I don’t want anyone to suffer in his job, I’m sure that the mistreatment of blue-collar workers deserves a lot more coverage. They’re the ones who, since Ronald Reagan blamed the unions for all that was wrong in America, have suffered a diminution in buying power and a total stagnation in their standard of living. They’re going nowhere, and with anti-union candidates like Scott Walker crowing about their anti-union records on the campaign trail, the American worker seems doomed.
And by the way, the children no longer do better.
So Amazonians, buck up. The lack of daily free food buffets or regular snack supplies may indeed be a hardship, but the whiteness of your collar presages a brighter future than that of most American workers who show up for their jobs not quite so nattily dressed.