Amazon Forces Warehouse Workers into 10-Hour ‘Megacycle’ Shifts

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Vice’s Motherboard reports that last month, hundreds of Amazone warehouse workers in Chicago were told by management they had two choices — sign up for a ten-and-a-half-hour overnight shift or lose their job. Workers were told by management that their warehouse known as DCH1 was to be shut down and they were being offered a shift that runs from 1:20 a.m. to 11:50 a.m., known as a “megacycle,” at a new Chicago warehouse.

DCH1 has previously been the focus of many protest, walkouts, and petitions organized by workers that resulted in Amazon making nationwide policy changes. Organized workers at the facility that go by DCH1 Amazonians United told Motherboard: “[This decision] is cruel and the antithesis of family-friendly corporate responsibility. The new schedule is unworkable particularly for many mothers, those who care for elderly relatives and others who need to be home in the morning hours.”

The group added: “In this COVID-19 environment, kids are home and learning virtually and a parent needs to be with them.”

Amazon has begun transitioning workers nationwide into megacycle shifts in recent months. Megacycle shifts combine shorter shifts into one 10-hour shift beginning around 1:00 a.m. and ending close to noon. The term megacycle is used by managers and workers to describe 10-hour graveyard shifts according to workers.

An Amazon spokesperson informed Motherboard that more than half of its last-mile delivery network has already transitioned to these new shifts. Previously, workers at facilities such as DCH1 were offered multiple shift options including an eight-hour overnight shift ending at 4:45 am, a five-hour morning shift, and a four-hour morning shift.

Now, DCH1 workers will only have megacycle options at a new facility. The DCH1 Amazonians United posted about the issue on Twitter:

An Amazon spokesperson told Motherboard that the transition to megacycle provides a longer window for customers to place orders and an improved warehouse station experience. The company believes this makes it easier for different delivery stations to work together.