Jeff Bezos Tells Amazon to Treat Employees Better While He Prepares to Flee Planet Earth

Illustration for article titled Jeff Bezos Tells Amazon to Treat Employees Better While He Prepares to Flee Planet Earth
Photo: Patrick Semansky (AP)

Earth today received parting words from Jeff Bezos, as the soon-to-be-former Amazon CEO turned over his shoulder on the slow walk to the rocket launch pad and observed: damn, you guys really need to turn this dump around—I mean, Christ, look at yourselves.

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The message was transcribed in a press release included in Amazon’s annual shareholder letter, which is scheduled to be the last of the founder’s investor dispatches while occupying the role of CEO. Bezos wrote that future leadership really needs to do better by its employees:

Does your Chair take comfort in the outcome of the recent union vote in Bessemer? No, he doesn’t. I think we need to do a better job for our employees. While the voting results were lopsided and our direct relationship with employees is strong, it’s clear to me that we need a better vision for how we create value for employees – a vision for their success.

Or rather, think some thoughts about gifting employees some kind of unspecified additional success value on top of the existing success for which Amazonians should be grateful. Those employees who talked to media bums and collected settlements for alleged unfair labor practices are not relaying the full picture as seen from the lofty vantage point of the richest man in the world:

If you read some of the news reports, you might think we have no care for employees. In those reports, our employees are sometimes accused of being desperate souls and treated as robots. That’s not accurate. They’re sophisticated and thoughtful people who have options for where to work. When we survey fulfillment center employees, 94% say they would recommend Amazon to a friend as a place to work.

“Treating Us Like Robots” is the title of an AP news report printed in the Washington Post, which is owned by Jeff Bezos.

Earth, it has many problems.

Following the dispatch, Bezos turned to a haggard army of non-unionized laborers loading the cargo ship with mating pairs of caged animals and a wooden crate marked TOP SECRET: ARMY INTEL 9906753: DO NOT OPEN! Get in, losers, we’re going to space city! he cried, and some may have heard, but can not confirm, the words: “Initiate total annihilation in 3, 2…

The rest was inaudible.

Staff reporter, Gizmodo. wkimball @ gizmodo

DISCUSSION

JackRabbitSlim323
JackRabbitSlim323

I’ve met and worked for entrepreneurs who started from nothing out of their garages, giving up regular employment, to start something for themselves. They are some of the hardest working people I have ever met, and they can recall putting in 18 hour days with no breaks. They grow to believe that their employees should have the same attitude they do. They end up having very little sympathy for the basic rights of workers, in comparison to their own work ethic and sacrifices. The reality check is, unless you give your employees stock options or profit sharing, no one should break their back for $15/hour.