back to article Did you know? Amazon does film production – and it treats those workers like dirt, too*

Amazon, the target of multiple lawsuits alleging labor law violations and the subject of criticism over cutthroat work culture, appears to be pilot testing its tough-love approach to worker management in its burgeoning media production business. Marvelous Solano-Rodriguez – who may or may not live up to his name – on Thursday …

  1. J.Smith

    Tough love

    I'm with Amazon on this. Humans are a resource to be used, start paying fair wages and give them rights, and they'll start getting ideas above their station.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Poe's law

      Could be a parody.

      But equally could be a 14yo who just read Atlas Shrugged, or an American.

      1. 404 Silver badge

        Re: Poe's law

        Not American - no American says 'ideas above their station', that's a British thing.

      2. HurdImpropriety

        Re: Poe's law

        Oh so "Atlas Shrugged" disagrees with you? You must be a Liberal... oh your are European... even worse.

        1. hattivat

          Re: Poe's law

          John Rogers put it best:

          "There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs."

          1. 404 Silver badge

            Re: Poe's law

            That is great - have an upvote!

    2. redpawn Silver badge

      Re: Tough love

      You are right. Humans are like water (60%). There is always more until you run out. Amazon should be careful though not to use up the last one.

    3. Evil Auditor Silver badge

      Re: Tough love

      Amazon: you like your job, right? You're having fun?

      PPA: yeah....?

      Amazon: you don't expect me to pay you for having fun, do you?!

      Alternative

      Amazon: you like your job, right? You're having fun?

      PPA: yeah... but no, not really.

      Amazon: Sod off, you ungrateful sob! You're fired!

  2. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    "Humans are a resource to be used,.. give them rights,.. start getting ideas above their station."

    Demonstrates why humor is so difficult to pull off on the interwebs.

    Presuming you are being humorous.

    1. Ragarath Silver badge

      But..

      There is a joke icon for a reason though.

  3. Haku

    I bet they didn't short change Hammond, May & Clarkson....

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I bet they didn't short change Hammond, May & Clarkson....

      They can afford to pay them almost obscene amounts of money to report on cars because they don't pay the other workers properly. More for the rulers, less for the peasants.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      IIRC The Grand Tour is produced by their own production company, Amazon aren't involved in the day-to-day filming of that show.

      1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

        Amazon aren't involved in the day-to-day filming of that show.

        Just as well - the PPA staff would be invoicing for medical expenses then too..

  4. fishman

    Typical Hollywood

    It sounds like Amazon is just following typical Hollywood studio methods. The studios are famous for stiffing workers and using creative bookkeeping to stiff others.

    1. Haku

      Re: Typical Hollywood

      Ain't that the truth, David Prowse who acted one of the most iconic film characters in history, Darth Vader, once said this:

      “I get these occasional letters from Lucasfilm saying that we regret to inform you that as Return of the Jedi has never gone into profit, we’ve got nothing to send you. Now here we’re talking about one of the biggest releases of all time,” said Prowse. “I don’t want to look like I’m bitching about it,” he said, “but on the other hand, if there’s a pot of gold somewhere that I ought to be having a share of, I would like to see it.”

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Typical Hollywood

        AFAIK, Every Harry Potter film made a stonking great loss. This is like every movie yet the Studios are still in business. In any other line of work they would be out of business years ago.

        But Hollywood works on a totally different set of accounting rules than any other business

        Google for "hollywood accounting rules"

        This one is very enlightening

        https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2011/09/how-hollywood-accounting-can-make-a-450-million-movie-unprofitable/245134/

        Hollywood makes ponzi schemes look positively generous.

        1. Youngone Silver badge

          Re: Typical Hollywood

          The Hollywoord accounting rules are set up by the governments who ought to be collecting tax so that those jobs won't drift off to other places.

          As a taxpayer in New Zealand I had to cough up my share of $50 million to keep the awful Lord of the Rings movies here.

          The workers on those movies also lobbied hard on behalf of their owners to be allowed to give up the right to take industrial action.

      2. Martin an gof Silver badge

        Re: Typical Hollywood

        (David Prowse)

        Eldest went with some mates on a youth club trip to the Comicon in Cardiff yesterday. Prowse was there, along with a few other minor-ish celebrities. Prowse was acting so grumpy that eldest decided to avoid that queue for signatures and head for the bloke next door whose name I've forgotten, but who (among other things) played the small red spiky alien/cyborg (spoliers!) in the Doctor Who Christmas special Voyage of the Damned (Titanic). Apparently, he was absolutely charming and chatty.

        If Prowse really is being shafted by Lucasfilm (or presumably Disney now) then I can understand his grump.

        M.

  5. ecofeco Silver badge

    Typical

    In the last 10 years, half of the places I've worked have tried to short my pay. This has become the norm in American business.

    And it works because most people are too poor to fight it and the government agencies who are supposed to protect you are underfunded and understaffed and most claims go done the memory hole.

  6. NanoMeter

    The Bozo

    Guess that's the way Jeff "Bozo" wants to run his business. Someone should tell him the gründer years are long gone.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time Cards

    Ha. Many many years ago, I would work numerous days in a row (fast forward: company has been giving zero pay raises for so many years that getting anyone to show up on weekend now to meet a deadline just doesn't happen. Beanies saving money and all that, but I digress).

    When I attempted to out the electronic time card, the software would not let me fill in the number of days worked. Finally complained about it after being pressured to fill in the time card, and they said: state law says you can't work that many days in a row, therefore the software won't let you enter that many in a row. My response: I can't sign the time card without all those days, because you say the electronic time card is a 'legal document' and since I can't fill the time card in with the number of days I actually worked, I can't sign the time card. No response to that, they don't require salaried people to fill out time cards anymore because it only causes problems... like the problems Amazon has. If they had no records, it would be 'he said she said' and only the lawyers would get any money!

  8. imanidiot Silver badge

    Surprising?

    How is this any surprise? Amazon stiffs it's workers in every division, from the warehouses to the IT bods. There's plenty of easy to find stories already. It's par for the course for Amazon. And surprisingly people keep accepting it.

  9. ntevanza

    Because we're all in

    showbiz now.

  10. HurdImpropriety

    Union "workers" sitting by the punch clock waiting to punch out

    Oh the Union workers are better? Don't think so. I worked at a union shop (Raytheon) where the union "workers" actually had couches next to the timeclocks... and would sit by them for 10 to 15 minutes or even longer before they punched out.... ridiculous

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Union "workers" sitting by the punch clock waiting to punch out

      Union "workers" sitting by the punch clock waiting to punch out are the fault of or by the direction of the management. Anyone pointing to such practices as the fault of the workers is politically motivated, or very ignorant of how Union workplaces are designed to operate.

      IME Union workers are by far the easiest to control. They are bound by a contract that the Union team or Union management has agreed to and does not want violated. A Union that willfully violates a contract can be de-certificated meaning the workers would have to organise all over again.

      Should a supervisor see a Union worker in an area their job does not require them to be in. or engaged in an unauthorized activity that worker can be verbally warned (with a written letter recording the warning) clearly stating the violation. Should that offense occur again it can be followed up by a written warning and discipline. (sample letters should be one file to help new supervisors use correct wording)

      Each contract is a little different but the discipline process is clear and will progress all the way to termination without recourse unless the worker changes their behaviour. In which case they can pause the process for a set time (usually a year) before it resets, ready to be used again with maximum discipline at each step.

      Management always has the right and responsibility to manage. That they choose not to is not the fault of the workers.

  11. Bucky 2

    Marvelous

    Something feels off here.

    You might name yourself "Marvelous" if you are a professional magician.

    Otherwise, I think I'm safe in assuming a tendency toward self-aggrandizing hyperbole. That doesn't mean such a person is not ALSO being screwed by a large organization. But my first impulse is to look for independent verification of anything he says.

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