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tv   Ali Velshi on Target  Al Jazeera  August 21, 2015 1:30am-2:01am EDT

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vaulting. and no words makes this fresh new art form appeal to a wide range of audience. leaving them all wanting more. for more news, go to our website. i'm ali velshi, "on target" - over worked and under pressure, corporate america making billions off the backs of stressed out american workers. working for the weekend - why your boss should embrace the 4-day working week. tonight we talk about stress on the job. we are not working fewer hours, employers wants us on the job, and in many cases they want us
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to stay in touch off the job via the phone. the work-life balance that so many strive to manage is becoming increasingly harder to achieve. work place stress affects our health too. this week a study published in the lancet medical journal finds a link between workers that put in 55 hours a week, and more cardiovascular disease. workers with longer hours found a 33% increased chance of stroke than workers putting in 40 hours or less. and the risk of developing coronary heart disease is 30% greater for those working longer hours than those that don't. all of this comes days after a new york times published report talking about the bruising corporate atmosphere of amazon. it has a stock ever $240 wal-mart. they say it's done that, working
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hard on the workforce. white and blue collar employees, delivering the best returns for the company. the article came with eye-opening account. most with employees, about pressures that amazon managers are subject to. the pressure is so high that amazon churns through the words. most of whom manage to hold on for a few years. the article says that's intentional. taking in workers to spin the amazon machine, until it worms them out. describe. >> the status quo ply employees with perks, ping pong tables, free lunch. not so, amazon. known for good evening frugal. no massages, or free lunch. >> we have an unbelievable food truck scene. if everyone came in and had amazon authorised food, and, you know, there would be no food truck scene.
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>> in this interview last year, c.e.o. jeff baso defended criticism that amazon employees are overworked with perks that come with a tech job. >> we have significant benefits at amazon, besides compensation, so on and so on. people bring their dogs to work. we have windows that open in our buildings. that's unbelievable. turns out like pressure air. >> the interview is intructive. it alleges a culture in which employees struggle under the weight of unrealistic expectations, where backstabbing is encouraged and work life balance is discouraged. i don't claim our way is the right way, i claim it's hours. >> including one who said things at amazon were so bad.
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you walk out of a conference room and you see a grown man cover the face. nearly every person i work with i see cry at work. >> we saw a tolerance by manager that is not empathetic. >> they told charlie rose that portrayal. >> the fundamental flaw in the story is the suggestion that any company that had the culture that the "new york times" wrote about, and a cruel darwinian or dekensian atmosphere in the workplace could survive and thrive in today's marketplace. >> the "new york times" reported many amazon employees work 85 hours a week. parents have pressure to spend lis time with their families. amazon denied this. we are not perfect. we strive to improve. i didn't recognise what i
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saw in the article. >> reporter: the article hit a nerve for the white collar workforce, that work life balance is a pipe dream. >> the work-life balance, where people are putting in long hours, and high expectations is something that level. >> professor roger hill says this is a first time in the history of work culture in the u.s. where the level of work output is expected. >> we can look back particularly in the industrial age where people put in that type of time and commit. i don't know if it's to this level. part of the reason is technology. we may work long hours at the office or business or industry, but when we left that we were isolated from a working
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environment, as far as being directly connected. nowadays we are connected 24-7. and the notion of if you can't take the work culture leave, that's new too. >> i think to some extent some actually. i don't know that i can think of times history where there has been a queue of people lined up for a job the same way, and willing to make the sacrifices deliberately, like today it's important to say that not everyone is surprised or outraged by the picture at amazon.com. some inside or outside the company say the times got it wrong. whatever you think, unless you work at amazon, the culture of the company is none of your business. that's the few of my next guest from the cato institute, a think tank in in respect washington. jeffrey, good to see you.
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thank you for being with us. no one at amazon is in danger. >> they go there, agree to what ner getting paid and stay until they choose to quit. that said, you said what goes on in amazon is no one's business. do you not think it's a company that is ubiquitous, that has 180,000 employees, and has tens of millions of customers. do you not thing it has an inherent responsibility to treat employees and those of us. and as well as shareholders. >> no. i think the biggest responsibility sl shareholders and customers, and if it is pushing employees and getting more out of it than others. that's part of why you can go online and order something and get it delivered by amazon. it's not just books.
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we can have our cake and eat it too. all that great service that everyone has, it came from somewhere, from hard. >> you argue that they owe a debt to the shareholders and consumers. why are workers - why do you not thick they owe it to their workers to treat them better. >> first of all, i suspect that they treat their workers better than the article portrayed, as their vp said. if they were as darwinian as the article made them out to be, not so maybe would want to work for them. let's take for given they treat the workers badly. no one is holding a gun to their head. anyone that doesn't like that culture can find employment in a different culture. there's a different culture embraced. that works for c.e.o.s and companies.
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the markets place will sort people out according to the work place and commitment they want to have. >> at this point we have a government official unemployment rate of 5.3%, higher than that. let's assume it is, and amongst the people that amazon hires, many specialised in technology, unemployment rates are lower, and becomes effectively zero for high-tech workers, if what you say is correct, will tell amazon to shove it. >> exactly. and we should remember going back to another point you raised that the technology enslaves employees to be on 24/7 when they are on the vacation, sell phone and emails. it lib rates them to go on vacations, respond to a few emails, rather than the boss say i need you here, you can't go on your vacation at all.
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there's a plus size. recognised. >> amazon as 180,000 employees, a bunch in the seattle area, the major competitor is microsoft. a company not known for being the warmest and fuzziest of employees. we have a list of the top places to work, and use google as legend, about the great things they do for workers. as an economist. what is better - to give your workers a fair check and have them cook and buy their own lunch and deal with their pets the way they do, or be google. where you grow in your culture and talk about how great it is to work there. >> i think the right answer is we don't know. it's not the right thing for everyone. the beauty of capitalism is different companies with different cultures emerge. people sort themselves out. for some c.e.o.s, running a plays the way google runs itself
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will feel natural, good, and employees that like it will sort into that employment. others would rather endure the tough conditions, the harsher reality at, say, amazon, but are rewarded for it. they have jobs, promotions, raises, and they don't have to decide what is better. one way is good for some. another is good for others. >> good to talk to you. coming up next - why is working at amazon stressful and is it different from other places. we'll find out. >> a fourteen-year-old... murdered. >> whistling at a white woman... in mississippi? >> america tonight opens the case... >> never thought that he would be killed for that. >> that started the push for racial justice. >> that was the first step in the modern civil rights movement. >> could new evidence uncover the truth about that gruesome night? >> i wanted people to hear the true story of till.
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>> the lifeline of the american west. >> what does this river mean to you? >> the river, to me, means homeland. >> in danger of running dry. >> there'll come a time when we fight over every last drop of water in the river. >> where's the water going? >> i worry about the future generations - what are they going to have? >> faultlines investigates the shrinking colorado river. >> no group of people can have their american dream... we have to pay that price. amazon's size and power in the retail landscape is a reason there's interest in how it treats employees. they have more than 180,000 employees, 2014 revenue of $89
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billion, more than microsoft and google. amazon's warehouses are where the books, furniture and package are slipped. over 6,000 employees work in these centers in the united states, and the blue-colour employees have been exposed to continues in amazon's warehouses. adam johnson is an editor at alter nets and says it's by no means that the first time's's works conditions are solved. that's why the amazon described is not the amazon he knows. look, i'll tell you, i don't makes sense. no c.e.o. recognises the employees. no one makes him cry. you heard jeff myron's argument that no one is holding a gun to these people's head. leave.
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>> this is a neat argument that libertarians peddled for 20-30 years, and in a frictionless vacuum, it makes sense, that there's a labour liquidity. i can get a job when i want it. time and time again society and politicians rejected the logic. there's base-line standards you have. the question you like, that economist battle on is answer the next question, do you believe in a minimum wage. >> they don't. >> that wasn't the conversation we had. >> they believe there's no standard. everyone accepts there's some standard. employees of amazon do earn more than the minimum wage. >> there is some standard. we are negotiating what that is. >> you look at the stories in the "new york times". shedding lights on what we knew was going on. now it seems to be trickling, or was in the white collar labour,
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and they offend us. people cries at their desks. we ask ourselves should this le been -- should this ever be an option for a job. >> that's the argument we got you on for. their arguments, the larger they, market forces saying we give you a check, you can choose what to do, when you take a vacation or put in for it. we are not giving you perks, you manage that. we haven't rejected the logic. the day you are offered a job at amazon, you are told the terms and are getting paid and you say yes or no. >> there's less of a theme with the white collar helmet. i don't think the labour market is lib -- liquid as he likes to make it out to be. the idea that you can up and move like some sort of wij et is
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not realistic. i think there should be, if not legal. i don't think we are talking about that realm or pr, the perception of amazon. the only thing they reformed anything is because of bad p.r. people like the "new york times" do what they should do, shedding light on conditions, and saying society. >> we are not talking about a factory in bangladesh, we are talking about people that work in environments that meet occupational health and safety rules, and are paid more the minimum wage. what is the complaint. that they are not a warm and fuzz yip. >> the fundamental complaint is how ominous it is. the things associated with the dekensian workshops that amazon has run, temperatures over 100 degrees, that they are becoming part of middle management as well. and as the economy is stratified, that people who previously thought they were comfortable that read the "new york times", they realise that
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the - as one commentator put it when giving his own story, that it runs downhill, maybe not as far. that's why people care, more middle managements understood that this was now the norm for them as well. it's not nearly as bad. >> let's go back to the conversation i was having with esof the cato institute. we know about chose that put out the ways out of work. lots of companies make it on to the list. when you are talking about white colour technology skilled workers, they are more mobile than blue colour. what part of the story are we missing, if amazon is the evil. >> not evil. there's part in the article that some people like it there. >> i agree. there's two sides.
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>> it's a degree. let's say you have zeer to 10, 10 worst, and maybe a nine than a seven. that's the argument. and that this was a p.r. problem for amazon. what and who should decide what working continues are for those not at the bottom of the heap. once you decide people have a maximum time they work, number of hours, improper working conditions, beyond that, who determines that. jeff myron would say it's not your business. >> he would say someone should make $0.20 an hour. >> there are things that are done, they outlaw a tech employees. it was like 6:30.
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that cree i think a worksafe balance. journalists should bring them to light. historically it is the only thing that reformed companies, the amazon or anyone else, you have to push the needle. pressure them to expose - they interviewed 100 people and came away with a general thesis that it had gone too far. >> you think this is more pref lents. there's more companies, people tell you it's the place to work, it pushes you, it's great on your resume, they don't tell you it's a great place to work. go to wall street. they one themselves out. after three or four or five years. >> it's asking a question. that's not a day for the revelation. is this a culture you want to condone. to some extent. it's not unique. is that the country we want to
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run, is it worth the extra point in our gene, most going to the net worth of el salvador. >> good to talk to you. adam johnson, the associate editor. next, would sa shorter work week make life better. many are offered the perk of working four days a week. we'll see how it works out.
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>> katrina was really a
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it's not just amazon.com where workers put in long hours, america has a well-deserved reputation of being a nation. worka holics. we work more hours, and work a whopping 42 days more than the germans do each year, and while americans are among the most productive workers, more working hours does not necessarily mean more productivity. the reality is one reason why more companies are experimenting with a 4-day work week. some of them find the viewers hours add up to more efficiency, loyalty and productivity, which has them saying thank god it's thursday. >> reporter: it's thursday at the online education tech company tree house in portland oregon. for most companies, it doesn't
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mean anything special. here thursdays are really fridays. week. >> wednesday comes around and you start to panic. tomorrow is the end of the week. i've got to get stuff down. >> reporter: c.e.o. ryan and his wife jill decided to work 4-day work weeks while launching a tech start up in 2004. when they began tree house in tradition. >> if everyone says you can't work less, let's prove them wrong and see if it's possible. >> turns out it is. >> we found a huge correlation between working less and being more efficient. makes sense. an idea of if i constrain myself to what i need to get done. there's a huge increase in productivity. >> we do know that a workforce that is on shorter hours and with flexible arrangements tendses to be happier, more
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loyal, and more stable and all those thinks tend to be good for lij. >> reporter: worldwide countries that work shorter hours tend to have higher productivity. take for example the g7 countries, germans work less, but are one of the most productive. with an average g.p. per hour that is 30% higher than italy and japan, among the hardest working countries in the g7. that tells you that it cannot predict that an economy will be stronger, because workers were working longer hours, and is likely that the economy will be the same or stronger if workers average. >> carson says there has been unexpected benefits to the 4-day work week. take fewer sick days, and says it's a powerful recruiting tool. >> we have angry c.e.o.s
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accusing us of stealing people. and what we don't realise is we here. >> 36% allow some employees to have a 4-day work week. it has to come from the c.e.o.s or executives or founders. you know, and the trouble is a lot of those folks like working. >> reporter: several u.s. cities are working in the long term, as well as the crisis plant. manufacturing and construction and tech companies are like like it work a 4-day work week. >> we work four eight hour days, four 10s. not trying to trick anyone. it's easy to think people are slacking. sunday they'll spend sunday evening an hour or two to figure out the schedule to make sure i have everything. >> this woman
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worked at tree house for three years, and says employees are accountable for how they spin their days, and accountability is tracked. >> we look at who completes target in a certain amount of time. red flags will be pulled ou. >> we had to let people down. you have to perform here. >> carson says his employees get a full salary and benefits. his bottom lines - employees are efficient and happy, even if the result. >> short term we've been hurt a little bit. we are growing is the 100% per year in revenue. i'm okay with that. >> that was jennifer rogge gers. that's the show for today. i'm ali velshi. thank you for joining >> there's a line of police advancing toward the crowd here.
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>> ferguson: city under siege. >> it isn't easy to talk openly on this base. >> and america's war workers. >> it's human trafficking. >> watch these and other episodes online now at aljazeera.com/faultlines. for every 10,000 americans, 20 have no place to live. across the country that homeless population would be big enough to fill the state. in good economic times and bad, the number of homeless is difficult to push down. what drives the loss of shelter and works in getting a roof over

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