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Jun 24, 2022
This article is part of a series called The Most Interesting HR Stories of the Week.

Amazon could ‘run out of people to hire’ by 2024

Churn of warehousing staff at retail giant, Amazon, is apparently so high (the company gets through its entire workforce, and then some, annually), that it could soon run out of people to hire within just a few years. This is according to a leaked internal memo, where an official warns “Amazon will deplete available labour in the US by 2024”. With some Amazon warehouses reportedly losing more people than they hire each year, particularly worse-hit regions are reported to be Los Angeles, Phoenix, Memphis and Wilmington, Delaware. The national average for warehouse and transportation attrition was 46% in 2019 and 59% in 2020. But according to Amazon’s own documents, its attrition levels are at 123%. In the years before Covid-19, Amazon lost workers at a rate of 3% per week and had a 150% turnover rate each year according to the New York Times. Amazon employs around a million people in the US, including head office workers, making it the second biggest private employer.

Apple workers win historic vote to join a union…

Apple store workers in Maryland have won a historic vote – one that sees them become the tech giant’s first retail employees to be able to join a labour force movement. Workers voted to unionize by a margin of nearly two-to-one, and the result could now pave the way for more. According to The Guardian, than 270 other Apple stores are reportedly interested in forming their own unions. The workers in Towson, near Baltimore, voted 65-33 to join the Apple Coalition of Organized Retail Employees – AppleCore. It will form part of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), an industrial trade union that represents more than 300,000 employees. “I applaud the courage displayed by members at the Apple store in Towson for achieving this historic victory,” said IAM International president, Robert Martinez. Unionization efforts are gaining significant momentum at some large US corporations, including Amazon and Starbucks.

…as Starbucks is taken to court for interfering with unionization efforts

According to, The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), is asking a federal court to order Starbucks to stop interfering with unionization efforts at its U.S. stores. The request means it is now the third time the board has filed a case against Starbucks since December, when a store in Buffalo, N.Y., became the coffee chain’s first location in decades to unionize. Papers were handed to the US District Court in New York on Tuesday. They want Starbucks to be ordered to reinstate seven Buffalo employees fired for trying to form a union. They also want to halt a variety of activities it claims are happening in its U.S. stores, including offering benefits to non-union stores, threatening reprisals for employees who support unionization, refusing to bargain with stores that have voted to unionize and temporarily or permanently closing stores. Since the Buffalo store won its right to unionize, more than 289 U.S. stores have petitioned the NLRB to hold union elections and at least 151 stores have voted to unionize. For its part, Starbucks claims stores work better when managers work directly with employees.

SpaceX ‘most likely’ violated labor laws when firing workers, report claims

A group of SpaceX employees fired last week for signing an open letter criticizing Elon Musk were most likely done so in violation of labor laws, according to one lawyer. Mary Inman, a whistleblower attorney at Constantine Cannon, described the firings as “retaliation for speaking up.” The open letter, first reported by The Verge, described Musk’s behavior as “a frequent source of distraction and embarrassment for us, particularly in recent weeks.” It cites SpaceX’s “No Asshole” policy and it asked the company to “publicly address and condemn Elon’s harmful Twitter behavior.” The fired employees could have a good case if they wanted to pursue the matter, because SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell made clear that the employees had been terminated specifically because of their involvement with the letter, which she characterized as “overreaching activism.” This, it is argued, makes proving the case for ‘retaliation’ much easier.

Employee loyalty video goes viral – but splits viewers

A Burger King employee’s video of genuine gratitude for the goodie-bag he received for not missing a days’ work in 27 years has gone viral – but in the wrong way. The employee, seen happily showing his treats – including a bag of Reeses chocolates, a lanyard, some mints, a movie ticket and some pens – is splitting opinion after some argue it’s a pretty poor reward for such lengthy, and uninterrupted service. Many who shared it, believe that the restaurant’s headquarters or someone from upper management should give the veteran worker something of greater value. According to, where the story was first published, Burger King has yet to issue a statement regarding the situation. The video, was posted on Reddit, and members of the site have suggested the goodie bag was most likely gifted to him by his co-workers.

Odds of America going into recession increases

Bank of America Global Research strategists have ratcheted up the odds of an economic downturn to 40% in 2023. The move follows Fed policymakers last week approving a 75-basis point interest rate hike – the first since 1994 – a move that is predicted to force employers to cut back on spending. “Our worst fears around the Fed have been confirmed,” said BoA analyst, Ethan Harris. “We look for GDP growth to slow to almost zero, inflation to settle at around 3% and the Fed to hike rates above 4%.” New economic projections released this week also show policymakers expect interest rates to hit 3.4% by the end of 2022, which would be the highest level since 2008.

Alo Yoga employees given option to be paid in cryptocurrencies

Cyptocurrencies might well be experiencing their worst downward slide right now (during Thursday-Saturday last week, Bitcoin lost $7.3 billion – the largest in its history), but that hasn’t stopped fashion brand, Alo Yoga, announcing employees will soon be able to receive part of the salary in crypto. Alo Yoga’s plans to offer paychecks in crypto will be extended to its 350 full-time salaried employees. Commenting on the move, Alo’s VP and global head of marketing Angelic Vendette said: “We definitely see this as a perk; giving our employees the option to decide where they want to put their money, whether that be in their bank account, [in] an investment platform, or [in] web3.” Vendette added: “The crypto move is a continuation of our investment in the metaverse space.” Alo Yoga’s employees who sign up to the scheme will continue to earn their salaries in US dollars. The conversion to crypto occurs after they choose what percentage of their earnings will go into their crypto wallet. The remainder of the salary goes into the employees’ bank accounts. According to TechiAzi, an internal survey revealed around 50% of its workforce said that they would opt to receive at least part of their salaries in cryptocurrency.


This article is part of a series called The Most Interesting HR Stories of the Week.