Jeff Bezos is the richest person on the planet. As of 2020, the Amazon owner is worth approximately 175 billion USD. However, not all of the 798,000 people at the company enjoy hearing about his success.
A viral Twitter thread has Amazon employees sharing stories about their poor work environment, sub-par safety standards, and unfair pay, calling Bezos an autocrat and suggesting that he's accumulating his wealth at their expense.
This exchange on Twitter kicked off a viral thread, where Amazon employees explain why Jeff Bezos' wealth isn't worth celebrating
Austin, an ex-Amazon employee who agreed to tell Bored Panda about his experience at the company, worked there for about 2 years. "I worked every position besides the manager, all shifts, days and nights," he said. "I decided to leave after my mental health was deteriorating due to being locked basically in this giant steel building with fluorescent lighting."
"I couldn't talk to anyone, we were constantly hounded to go faster and push harder and to push out extra volume. I began to hate my day to day life because all I got to do was the same exact thing as yesterday. It was incredibly stressful worrying about losing your job every day and if you wanted a personal day, then you better not get sick because you will lose your job."
Looking back, Austin does not regret leaving. "It showed me the shitty side of capitalist America and how much our employers don’t give a flying f about us. It's all about rates and money for them," he explained. "I'd like to add that I'd like people to think about how capitalism is the root of all evil. I'm not saying communism or socialism is the answer but obviously capitalism isn't it."
In August, ex-Amazon worker Christian Smalls even led a protest of the corporation's coronavirus standards outside CEO Jeff Bezos' $16 million apartment in New York City.
A few dozen people reportedly showed up, demanding that Amazon allow employees to unionize and "a federal wealth tax on the top 3% of earners in the United States," according to a press release from Smalls' group, the Congress of Essential Workers.
"I have workers [who] contact me all the time. They're not protected still," Smalls told FOX Business before the protest. "There are cases in buildings, people are still contracting the virus. ... Some people are bringing the virus home, and relatives are dying. It's an unfortunate situation they're putting their workers in."
Smalls was fired in March after organizing a small walkout over conditions at a Staten Island warehouse. He quickly gained media spotlight after calling for Amazon's JFK8 fulfillment center to be shut down for deep cleaning and accusing the corporation of lying about how many workers have tested positive for the virus.
"It cost me my career. Guess what? I have no regrets," Smalls said.
Jeff Bezos, on the other hand, talked up the perks of a job at Amazon in a letter to shareholders in April, proudly stating that the lowest paid Amazon worker makes more than 40 million Americans in the US, earning $15 an hour versus the US federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
The company raised its minimum wage to $15 in 2018. "It had an immediate and meaningful impact on the hundreds of thousands of people working in our fulfillment centers," Bezos said. We want other big employers to join us by raising their own minimum pay rates, and we continue to lobby for a $15 federal minimum wage."
However, Austin doesn't think that makes up for anything. "When I started, it was $13 an hour, and then it went up. I think it is ridiculous to be proud of that. That should be an industry standard to provide survivable wages. I think [he's just embarrassing himself]. If I got paid $25 an hour, I'd reconsider, but I didn't even get to go to the bathroom when I needed to. And honestly, $15 an hour is still barely scraping by."
Something tells me other people featured in this list would agree with Austin, too. Do you? Let us know in the comments.