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An Amazon warehouse in Orlando. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto/Getty

In a 14-month span starting in August 2017, Amazon fired about 300 full-time employees at a single warehouse in Baltimore for lack of productivity, according to reporting from The Verge that Amazon confirmed to Axios.

The big picture: That's a significant chunk of the roughly 2,500 people employed at the Baltimore warehouse where the firings occurred, reports the Verge's Colin Lecher.

  • "Assuming a steady rate, that would mean Amazon was firing more than 10 percent of its staff annually, solely for productivity reasons," Lecher writes.
  • Extrapolating to North America, that churn rate would mean thousands are fired every year for packing boxes too slowly.
  • In a statement to Axios, Amazon said that "in general, the number of employee terminations have decreased over the last two years at this facility as well as across North America."

According to documents The Verge obtained, Amazon has a system for automatically rating warehouse employee productivity and sending them warnings or even pink slips if their numbers fall — "without input from supervisors."

  • The Verge quotes Amazon as saying that that supervisors can step in and prevent an automated firing from taking place.

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New or expanded climate initiatives are popping up at several universities, a sign of the topic's rising prominence and recognition of the threats and opportunities it creates.

Why it matters: Climate and clean energy initiatives at colleges and universities are nothing new, but it shows expanded an campus focus as the effects of climate change are becoming increasingly apparent, and the world is nowhere near the steep emissions cuts that scientists say are needed to hold future warming in check.

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The pandemic isn't slowing tech

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Thursday's deluge of Big Tech earnings reports showed one thing pretty clearly: COVID-19 may be bad in all sorts of ways, but it's not slowing down the largest tech companies. If anything, it's helping some companies, like Amazon and Apple.

Yes, but: With the pandemic once again worsening in the U.S. and Europe, it's not clear how long the tech industry's winning streak can last.

Texas early voting surpasses 2016's total turnout

Early voting in Austin earlier this month. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

Texas' early and mail-in voting totals for the 2020 election have surpassed the state's total voter turnout in 2016, with 9,009,850 ballots already cast compared to 8,969,226 in the last presidential cycle.

Why it matters: The state's 38 Electoral College votes are in play — and could deliver a knockout blow for Joe Biden over President Trump — despite the fact that it hasn't backed a Democrat for president since 1976.