90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The Reality Of Online Shopping

Online shopping. We point, click, and buy. Then what happens? We’ll investigate.

In this Nov. 16, 2009 photo, Reginald Armstead, Jr., of Phoenix, sends a package on its way after packing it at the 800,000 sq. ft. Amazon.com warehouse in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP)

In this Nov. 16, 2009 photo, Reginald Armstead, Jr., of Phoenix, sends a package on its way after packing it at the 800,000 sq. ft. Amazon.com warehouse in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP)

Online shopping is such a breeze.  Plug in your credit card.  Point, click and buy.  It seems like magic.  But what happens after that little e-mail that says your order is confirmed?  .

Well, here’s what happens.  Somewhere in America, likely in a truly giant warehouse, likely at a very low wage, often a temp worker is off like a shot to find that product and send it on its way.  And they do that maybe a thousand times a day.  Running like rabbits.  Fire-able for any reason.  Desperate.  To bring you fast, free shipping.

This hour, On Point:  The new coal miners.  Inside warehouse America.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Mac McClelland, a reporter for Mother Jones, you can find her new story on the working conditions inside a fulfillment center here.

Spencer Soper, a business reporter for the Allentown Morning Call. You can find a series of his stories about the conditions inside an Amazon warehouse in Pennsylvania here.

Robert Korstad, professor of public policy and history at the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University.

From Tom’s Reading List

Mother Jones “Several months prior, I’d reported on an Ohio warehouse where workers shipped products for online retailers under conditions that were surprisingly demoralizing and dehumanizing, even to someone who’s spent a lot of time working in warehouses, which I have. And then my editors sat me down.”

Morning Call “Elmer Goris spent a year working in Amazon.com’s Lehigh Valley warehouse, where books, CDs and various other products are packed and shipped to customers who order from the world’s largest online retailer.”

Morning Call “More than 12,600 people pledged to boycott online retailer Amazon.com  this holiday season to protest “sweatshop” working conditions at its Lehigh Valley warehouses, according to the union advocacy group American Rights at Work.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Dec 19, 2014
Alan Gross, waves as he and his wife Judy leave following his statement at his lawyer's office in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. Gross was released from Cuba after 5 years in a Cuban prison. (AP)

Cuba reset. Russia’s rubble troubles. School massacre in Pakistan. Jeb explores 2016. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Dec 19, 2014
Soledad, and from left, Nina Pastori, and Lila Downs perform on stage at the Latin Recording Academy Person of the Year Tribute honoring Joan Manuel Serrat at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014, in Las Vegas. (AP)

From crossover hits to hip-hop to soul, we look at a big year in the wide world of Latin music.

RECENT
SHOWS
Dec 18, 2014
A poster for the movie "The Interview" is carried away by a worker after being pulled from a display case at a Carmike Cinemas movie theater, Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014, in Atlanta. (AP)

A big Sony hack gets weirder and wider. And Hollywood and Homeland Security are on edge.

 
Dec 18, 2014
This handout photo from the Twitter account of Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz. shows Alan Gross arriving at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2014. The US and Cuba have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations and open economic and travel ties, marking a historic shift in U.S. policy toward the communist island after a half-century of enmity dating back to the Cold War, American officials said Wednesday. (AP)

Following months of secret talks the US will restore full diplomatic relations with Cuba after more than fifty years.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: December 19, 2014
Friday, Dec 19, 2014

Rage, shortlinks and things you people seem to be into, we guess. Also, Putin.

More »
Comment
 
Cosby Accuser Beverly Johnson: ‘He's A Black Man. I Had To Separate The Trayvon Martins, The Michael Browns From What Happened To Me’
Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014

Beverly Johnson accused comedian Bill Cosby of drugging her in a high-profile Vanity Fair column. She tells us why she waited so long to share her story, and why it was even harder to share now.

More »
2 Comments
 
Our Week In The Web: December 12, 2014
Friday, Dec 12, 2014

On listener engagement, the meeting of trans-Atlantic royalty and the elusive origins of the chicken. (We promise this feed hasn’t been taken over the BBC…yet)

More »
Comment