A major blowback against warehouse conditions has led to a unionization movement at B&H Photo Video. The New York City electronics giant faces allegations of long hours and poor air quality at its Brooklyn warehouse.
B&H operates a large store near Penn Station in Manhattan, as well as a large warehouse at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Employees have reported extreme dust problems as well as forced double shifts.
The Alleged Warehouse Problems at B&H
Employees say the dust causes nosebleeds and general health problems. The other main contention surrounds frequent long hours. The Hasidic-owned business operates Sundays and half of Fridays, requiring a 5.5-day week. Additionally, B&H closes for many Jewish holidays. After closings, workers allegedly must work 17-hour shifts to make up for lost time.
Whether unionization happens or not, it seems clear that something needs to change at the B&H warehouse.
Reports indicate that the warehouse either does not have the right equipment to get the job done efficiently or the equipment is too complex to be operated without extensive training, which workers say is not provided.
At the B&H retail store, a system of conveyor belts moves products from the shelves to cash registers. Perhaps automation will be part of the solution to streamline the warehouse.
Worker satisfaction can be significantly improved — along with warehouse efficiency — through the use of manufacturing industry tugs. Motorized cart movers reduce the physical strain on workers while streamlining material handling.
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