‘Cry closet’: Amazon mocked for creating ‘AmaZen’ mental health box for warehouse workers

Conmpany’s profits hit record levels during pandemic but it has been criticised for working conditions

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Thursday 27 May 2021 21:47 BST

Amazon create AmaZen mindfulness pods for employees

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Amazon has been mocked after introducing the “AmaZen” mental health booth for its warehouse employees to unwind in.

The e-commerce giant says it introduced the interactive “Mindful Practice Room” where employees can watch videos on “mental health and mindful practices”.

“With AmaZen I wanted to create a space that’s quiet, that people could go and focus on their mental and emotional well-being,” said Leila Brown, the Amazon employee who invented the booth, in a company video.

“The ZenBooth is an interactive kiosk where you can navigate through a library of mental health and mindful practices to recharge the internal battery.”

Amazon’s profits soared to record-levels during the Covid-19 pandemic with customers stuck at home and reliant on online ordering of food, medicines and other essential items.

But the company has been slammed by its own employees over working conditions, gruelling shifts, and labour practices.

And it has been accused of interfering with workers’ rights to organise or to form a union and seen walkouts , protests and strikes at warehouses  in Chicago, New York, Minneapolis, Iowa, California, Oregon and Pennsylvania.

Some employees have even claimed that they do not have time to use a toilet during their shifts and have been forced to urinate in plastic bottles.

Amazon raised its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all US employees in 2018 and in April said it could give raises of between $0.50 and $3 to 500,000 workers.

But its new ZenBooth drew quick criticism on social media.

“Or you could pay your employees well, not treat them like garbage, and accept unionisation,” tweeted @70bpmhiccups.

“Imagine working in a place where this is deemed necessary,” tweeted @johnnymac79.

“Maybe just pay people a living wage instead?!?” wrote @tommiesunshine.

And @gwenissocrazy added: “Got to admit, Amazon News writers are getting pretty good at the dystopian satire thing.”

“Imagine working for a company so dystopian where conditions are so awful that they need to put a cry closet in the middle of the floor, and the company tries to sell it as a badge of honour,” tweeted @chartier.

The Independent has reached out to Amazon for comment.

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