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  • Writer's pictureFred Guerin

Serving Employees and Community the Bezos Way

Updated: May 31, 2020

A few years back Amazon's Jeff Bezos got together with a number of other billion dollar tech CEO's and declared in a signed letter that the purpose of a corporation was not merely to protect and increase shareholder profits, but also about 'serving employees and the community.

So, how's that re-purposing going?

Not to put too fine a point on it, really shitty. It seems that when it comes to workers, there is always room for more cost-cutting and austerity. The 146 billion dollar man Jeff Bezos decided it would be best to cut benefits for part-time workers at his grocery chain Whole Foods. His benefits cuts will affect 1,900 of the business's 95,000 part-time workers.

Perhaps the billionaire CEO's thought that their letter would help to restore trust in them, which is at an all-time low--most likely due to self-serving, sky-high compensation packages that have nothing to do with performance or competence. The problem is that they simply cannot be trusted, because their paramount interest has never been anything more than individual profit at the expense of worker rights, environmental integrity, human rights and public good.

The fact is, when it comes to public or community goods, people like Bezos can only be relied upon to pillage and strip employees of rights and benefits, ransack the economy and despoil the environment.

That is just who they are--or rather what we have allowed them to become.

Now in midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic Bezos is once again showing how exploitation of working people works. He suggests that grocery store employees “donate” their paid time off (PTO) to coworkers facing medical emergencies during the coronavirus outbreak.

Here is how UFCW International President Marc Perrone responded:

“Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Whole Foods CEO John Mackey should be ashamed of themselves for refusing to offer paid leave to employees until after they test positive for coronavirus. I’m not sure if these two CEOs know this, but testing is incredibly scarce in this country at the moment. Equally outrageous is the suggestion that Whole Foods workers donate their paid leave to workers who may become ill with the coronavirus. 

With our economy spiraling and millions of workers struggling, the last thing Whole Foods workers need is to be told by a CEO worth millions that they have to choose between their health and their paycheck.

In the face of a growing national and global coronavirus pandemic, it is time for Amazon and Whole Foods to start caring more about its workers and our communities than its profits.”  

The problem is that uber-rich corporate CEO's like Bezos have no shame.

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