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The dangers of Amazon work | Morning Newsletter

And, the future of Center City office space.

    The Morning Newsletter

    Start your day with the Philly news you need and the stories you want all in one easy-to-read newsletter

Hello, devoted readers of The Inquirer Morning Newsletter.

First: Amazon warehouse workers are being pushed beyond the limit, and it’s literally breaking them down, critics say.

Then: Every kid in Pennsylvania has the right to a school year “do over.” But if families want that, they have to act fast.

And: Center City’s office district is holding firm — but could see more departures post COVID-19.

— Olayemi Falodun (

Injuries are disproportionately higher among Amazon’s warehouse workers in Pennsylvania than those working in other companies’ warehouses, according to an Inquirer analysis of OSHA data compiled by the Washington Post.

From 2017 through 2020, Amazon warehouses in the tri-state area reported higher rates of injuries causing staff to miss work or do light-duty tasks.

Despite Amazon founder and business magnate Jeff Bezos’ acknowledging the company’s need to improve things for workers, with new measures already being implemented, labor unions claim Amazon is putting economic boom over safety of its employees.

Learn more about the unseen struggles of Amazon warehouse employees, as reporters Christian Hetrick and Chris A. Williams shed a light on how a big machine is adversely affecting the people that keep it in motion.

Every student in Pennsylvania is eligible to repeat a grade to make up for COVID-19 learning losses, but families who want to exercise that right have to move quickly.

Legislation signed by Gov. Tom Wolf last week gives parents until Thursday, July 15, to notify schools of their intention to retain their children.

The new law, known as Act 66, also gives students with disabilities who turned 21 during the 2020-21 school year the option to stay for another year.

Here’s what you should know about these options for schooling, as laid out by reporter Kristen A. Graham.

Reopening resources

  1. Track the latest data on cases in the region.

  2. Instead of asking someone’s vaccination status, do this.

  3. Here’s what experts feel safe doing — and what they don’t.

  4. Restaurants have found a new normal.

  5. Which Jersey and Delaware beaches are open? Check this map before you head down the Shore.

What you need to know today

  1. The vacancy rate is not as high in Philly’s central business district as in other major urban areas, such as Manhattan. But some big firms are cutting back on space.

  2. Jeff Van Drew was always a “confounding figure’’ in New Jersey politics. Switching parties hasn’t changed that.

  3. State Sen. Sharif Street and fellow lawmakers again called for stricter gun laws — this time after the fatal shooting of Street’s 21-year-old nephew at a West Philadelphia cookout on July Fourth.

  4. Another toll hike is in store for commuters on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, but the increase is slightly less than in recent years.

  5. An Allentown woman wants more people to know that tattoo ink can complicate breast cancer screening.

Through your eyes | #OurPhilly

Always something happening beneath the surface. Thanks for sharing.

Tag your Instagram posts with #OurPhilly, and we’ll pick our favorite each day to feature here and give you a shout-out.

That's interesting

👕 Here’s an inside look at one of the most trendy clothing brands that’s based in the area but that you’ve probably never heard of.

🍻 The views and menu are best at these top rooftop bars.

🎤 Get your tickets to see local icons Hall & Oates headline the third-ever Hoagie Nation festival.

😂 There’s no age limit to being a stand-up personality, especially for local comedian Natalie Levant, who is featured in a new film and has an upcoming Q&A with Tig Notaro.


“Every time I turn around, something is happening in the zeitgeist that requires Black women to explain why we are deserving of the same treatment afforded white people,” writes columinst Elizabeth Wellington in opposition to the Olympic ban of swim caps designed specifically for Black hair.

  1. White supremacists marching through the streets of the City of Brotherly Love on Independence Day weekend is a reminder that racism will continue to rear itself until white Americans firmly stand up against these groups and ideologies, writes columnist Solomon Jones.

  2. It’s time to take a closer look at the city’s infrastructure, as well as local and state building codes and property owners, so a tragic building collapse like the one in Surfside, Fla., doesn’t happen here, writes James A. Mehaffey, building codes subcommittee chair for the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

What we're reading

  1. Sanitation workers are overwhelmed as they are plagued by staff shortages, long hours, and a busy schedule, WHYY explores in this deep dive.

  2. Get your drink on this summer with a citywide initiative aimed at highlighting diversity, Billy Penn reports.

  3. Schools of fish are dealing with addiction and withdrawal after getting hooked on meth due to fresh water pollution, Live Science reports.

  4. U.S. News & World Report shares the harrowing tales of three Black women whose long-term COVID-19 battles reveal the nation’s long history of medical racism.

Your daily dose of | Electricity

Looking to revitalize the city’s art scene, Councilmember Isaiah Thomas worked with various public agencies to help support the artistic and cultural groups in need of resources and exposure. The ongoing Arts and Culture Recovery Week features art, music, designs, and workshops showcasing the different forms of artistic expression the city has to offer.