Amazon CEO Andy Jassy says the corporate may do extra to regard employees higher

Andy Jassy, CEO Amazon Internet Products and services, speaks on the WSJD Are living convention in Laguna Seaside, California, October 25, 2016.

Mike Blake | Reuters

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy mentioned Tuesday the corporate may do extra to regard workers higher and said considered one of its approaches to employee protection all through the coronavirus pandemic fell brief.

“I believe if in case you have a big staff of folks like we do — we’ve got 1.2 million workers — it is nearly like a small nation,” Jassy mentioned on level on the GeekWire Summit in Seattle. “There are many issues it’s essential do higher.”

When requested what Amazon may do higher, Jassy pointed to the corporate’s processes round pandemic depart in its warehouses. Amazon instructed employees it will supply as much as two weeks of paid unwell depart for workers who confirmed signs, had the virus, or had been in quarantine.

However that procedure didn’t paintings completely. Amazon workers instructed CNBC remaining April they skilled problems getting paid whilst they had been out on depart. Moreover, the corporate’s extremely computerized human sources techniques turned into so overloaded with employees inquiring for Covid-19 depart that some workers had been mistakenly denied unwell depart or threatened with termination, Bloomberg reported.

“All through the pandemic in our success facilities, we had a gadget and a procedure round folks with the ability to request brief and long run depart and the method simply did not scale,” Jassy mentioned. “We by no means expected having a plague or having call for like that. It did not paintings the way in which we needed it to paintings.”

Amazon and different e-commerce firms benefited from the coronavirus-fueled surge in on-line orders. However the pandemic additionally generated remarkable pressure on Amazon’s success and logistics operations and examined the corporate’s courting with its front-line employees, who could not paintings remotely. Amazon disclosed remaining October that just about 20,000 front-line employees gotten smaller Covid-19 between March 1, 2020 and Sept. 19, 2020.

The coronavirus pandemic set in movement a rising push amongst Amazon warehouse and supply employees to recommend for higher operating prerequisites, resulting in protests and organizing makes an attempt. Within the months sooner than stepping down as CEO, Amazon founder and government chairman Jeff Bezos defined a imaginative and prescient for making the corporate “Earth’s easiest employer” and pledged to regard employees higher.

“We do not fake that we are absolute best,” Jassy mentioned. “Once in a while I believe there are exaggerations and anecdotal references that don’t seem to be reflective of the entire. However there may be lots we will be able to stay operating on and that we can be operating on.”

Jassy additionally mentioned he is thinking about reshaping Amazon’s courting with town of Seattle, the place the corporate is headquartered. Seattle lawmakers sparked animosity with Amazon in 2018 once they handed a so-called “head tax,” that aimed to levy upper taxes on massive firms. Lawmakers in the end scuttled the tax, however that did little to fix town’s courting with Amazon.

“I believe our courting with Seattle has had ups and downs frankly. I believe the primary 20ish years on the corporate used to be beautiful collaborative,” Jassy mentioned. “I might say the remaining 5 years, as you recognize, town council has develop into much less enamored with trade or Amazon, it is simply been rougher.”

Lately, Amazon has grown its presence out of doors of Seattle. It has staffed up within the Seattle suburb of Bellevue and leased workplace area in Microsoft’s longtime house of Redmond, Washington.

“We do not recall to mind HQ1 being Seattle any more. We in reality recall to mind it as Puget Sound,” Jassy mentioned. “Now we have a large number of folks in Seattle, however we even have a large number of folks in Bellevue and it’s the place maximum of our expansion will finally end up being.”

WATCH: California Gov. Newsom indicators invoice bolstering warehouse employee protections


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