Integrity Initiation

Integrity Staffing is the service that feeds SDF8 with temp and temp-to-hire workers.

When I got out of school in May 2014, I needed a quick job and paycheck. Amazon always seemed to be hiring, so I drove to the off-site Integrity office and applied. I was given a few simple tests, offered a job, and assigned a start date. A week later, I arrived on my start date about five minutes early at the SDF8 Integrity office. All the new-hire temps were directed to sit in a small conference room. The integrity worker called me with a few other new-hires to the desk and said we could go home, all the positions for that day were filled. I told the Integrity worker that I understood I would be starting work that day. He told me that sometimes all the new-hires don’t show up, so the company hires more than it needs and employs first-come. If I wanted to, I could go to the off-site Integrity office and talk to them about it and get a new start date.

I drove down to the Integrity office. The worker there was entirely familiar with my experience, although no one mentioned this first-come, first-serve policy during any part of my interview and hiring process. She gave me a new start date and said she would personally ensure I would be a priority hire and would start work on that date.

I arrived on the new date a little early. The same thing happened. I told the Integrity worker that I had already been turned away at my first start date, and I had made new arrangements. He said he was sorry, but he didn’t have any record of it.

I drove to the office and asked to speak to the manager. The manager was pleasant and apologetic. She gave me a twenty dollar gas card, a new start date, and the same assurances that I would be starting work on that date.

In the interim I discovered that Amazon SDF8 was hiring directly. Being a direct hire is almost always preferable to being a temp-to-hire. A direct hire employee makes a tiny bit more pay, receives most benefits immediately, and generally enjoys overall better treatment and job security than SDF8 Integrity employees.

The Amazon Tier One hiring process is done mostly online. I filled out an application and was given an orientation date contingent on a successful background check.

I went to the paid orientation. I submitted to a mouth swab, filled out some tax paperwork, sat through about 4-6 hours of videos and speakers, signed some confidentiality clauses. Then I was assigned a new department, AFE (Amazon Fulfillment Engine), a new shift, a new start date.

My Integrity experience illustrates an alarming recent trend where a burden normally shouldered by a solvent, thriving, incorporated business is placed on the shoulders of a struggling, possibly insolvent, independent, unemployed or employed worker. This is the first such example, even before walking through the door, “because people don’t show up,” the company says, the burden is placed on the job-seeking unemployed. (If this practice is not illegal, it is certainly dishonest.)

To an unemployed worker seeking an eleven dollar-per-hour temp job, the expense of finding work might take a relatively large portion of the worker’s financial means.

My Integrity experience was distasteful, but a fitting introduction into the world of being an Amazon employee. In the May 2016 issue of inSTALLments, SDF8 announced, “Integrity Staffing will now be taking over the direct hiring for Amazon.” It is unclear whether these deceptive hiring practices will be extended by Integrity to the direct hiring of Amazon SDF8 employees. I doubt they will, because SDF8 is somewhat desperate for employees given its poor reputation within the community, its massive turnover rate, and its planned attrition processes for long-term employees.