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Amazon employee attempts suicide at company HQ after sending warning email to Jeff Bezos, co-workers

By midian182 ยท 29 replies
Nov 29, 2016
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  1. Stories of Amazon’s toxic work environment have been around for years; in 2015, CEO Jeff Bezos said a damning New York Times report didn’t “describe the Amazon I know.” But it appears that the online retail giant still has problems when it comes to employee moral, after one worker jumped off a building in what police are calling a suicide attempt.

    The incident took place at about 8:45 local time at the company’s Seattle headquarters on Monday. Bloomberg reports that the man hasn’t been identified, but police said he survived the 12-story fall and was taken to a nearby hospital.

    According to a person familiar with the matter, the man had sent out an email visible to hundreds of co-workers and company boss Bezos, which criticized the way his transfer request had been handled. He wanted to be moved to a different department, but was placed on an employee improvement plan that can lead to termination if the person doesn’t quickly show signs that he or she is improving.

    The unidentified source said the man hinted in the email that he may harm himself.

    “Our thoughts are with our colleague as he continues to recover,” Amazon said in a statement. “He’s receiving some of the best care possible and we will be there to support him throughout the recovery process.”

    Last Year’s Times piece interviewed over 100 current and former Amazon employees who talked about the company’s use of cruel management practices and its lack of empathy for staff with health and family problems. The article referred to the performance improvement plan as Amazon code for “you’re in danger of being fired.”

    Amazon’s questionable attitude toward its employees isn’t limited to those in the US. A BBC investigation into one of its UK-based warehouses found workers were expected to collect orders every 33 seconds - conditions that a stress expert said could cause "mental and physical illness." Additionally, Amazon staff at four of its warehouses in Germany have gone on strike several times over pay and working conditions. Whether this latest incident results in a change to management practices remains to be seen.

    Permalink to story.

  2. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,047   +322

    I bottled chlorine in a cold warehouse for a winter. The job had NO endpoint. Looking inside of an Amazon warehouse and what these people do I understand their frustration. For that winter I had no choice but I quit in spring and did other work. Many have no choice but that is not on Amazon
  3. RzmmDX

    RzmmDX TS Guru Posts: 313   +67

    Unions for everyone guys!
    Kunming likes this.
  4. Hexic

    Hexic TS Maniac Posts: 310   +151

    Unions are useless, money-mongering corporations that are just as bad as the companies that they 'work' for. You're 'valued' in a union, as long as they continue to get your cut. It ain't the 20's anymore.
    Lionvibez, EClyde and Duckeenie like this.
  5. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,689   +1,090

    Unions are generally a good thing as long as the government isn't rewarding the offshoring of jobs. Of course keeping organized crime out of the picture is also paramount. Sadly, the big American unions are pretty corrupt - most of them embrace illegal immigrant membership - and we ALL know the score on Wall Street globalism. Hopefully Trump will keep his word and use all the carrots and sticks at this disposal to bring jobs back home (as well as driving out the illegals who steal both jobs AND welfare while paying no taxes).
    Panamapatrick likes this.
  6. dogofwars

    dogofwars TS Enthusiast Posts: 40   +16

    You really believe that!? I really hope you are right though!!!
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2016
  7. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,047   +322

    I was in unions for >30 years. They are worse to their members then administration. First chance I got I was out
    Panamapatrick, Lionvibez and Hexic like this.
  8. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,218   +398

    Some people I see are still drinking the unionized bottle water :p

    There are no need for unions in 2016.
    Panamapatrick likes this.
  9. Kunming

    Kunming TS Maniac Posts: 308   +184

    Maybe american unions. But then again, few things work in the us. Fact is, unions are required. The very issues of globalism @psycros mentions, is precisely something unions help to stop. Without unions, each worker is atomized. Split apart from every other worker. Just the same way as each citizen is. Once you're divided, whether at work or as a citizen in society, you have that much less power, when it comes to battling corporations and governments. Your unions may be in poor working order or they may not. But that doesn't mean unions are unilaterally bad. Many European countries have strong unions for example and it helps.

    Oh yea, so where are all your jobs? Apparently quite a few people think the jobs aren't there, seeing as Trump got elected.
    Evernessince likes this.
  10. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,218   +398

    That isn't a problem for me since I live in Canada!
  11. Theinsanegamer

    Theinsanegamer TS Evangelist Posts: 642   +615

    It's sad so many here had bad experiences with unions. I've worked union my whole life, and while they are certainly not perfect-nothing run by people is- it has made my life way easier, by ensuring we get proper pay and great benefits. It's better then getting paid tons but being screwed six ways to Sunday on healthcare anytime something goes wrong. It is also reassuring that we cant just be fired for no reason, we have to actually do something wrong to be punished (sad that we need a union for that to be true, but there you go).

    Corrupt unions ruin the picture for everyone. but a union is only as good as the people in it. A corrupt union will typically have a lot of either corrupt members or members to apathetic to care what the union does. Either way, a corrupt union usually signals that it is not a good place to work.
  12. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,794   +1,009

    First, unions are not companies. Second, thinking that just because this isn't the 20s anymore means we don't need unions is misguided at best. That would be like saying we don't need companies anymore because we are past their golden age years. Unions are very much needed, especially in America where worker's rights trail many other 1st world countries.

    Saying that unions are greedy is like saying that anyone anywhere wants more money for what they do, of course they do (and so do the companies they are negotiating with). Any form of bureaucracy is going to have inefficiency. It is very acceptable given the positive is that workers are able to combine their power instead of being bullied indivually by large corporate entities.

    You were in unions? So you had multiple trades?
    Kunming likes this.
  13. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,047   +322

    I was in The United Steelworkers...My Pension? Ha Ha HA ...No way...they are broke. I was in the MNA. I love girls and the only reason in my book for a guy to get out of bed in the morning are girls. With that said the girls that were our MNA union officers were and still are totally ineffective. Last December I got out. It was swell. MNA = Michigan Nurses Association as red as red gets and full of shyte
  14. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,794   +1,009

    My father was in the United Steelworkers Union up in Buffalo for a long time. If you have poor union officers you need to complain and take action. Unions are like governments, you have to be active and vocal for anything to change.
    EClyde likes this.
  15. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,047   +322

    I went to meetings. I was vocal. I tried to get others involved.....almost a hopeless task
    Panamapatrick likes this.
  16. Kunming

    Kunming TS Maniac Posts: 308   +184

    That just means it's hard. It's why american democracy sucks you see - people feel it's worthless. Just look at the low low low rates of voter participation in elections. The thing is, americans have gotten so used to being f*d over, they no longer feel the pain. They just accept it. They accept being divided by those in positions of power. Being an active citizen is *hard*, very hard. It takes persistence, organisation and planning. For a long time, it will seem like nothing is happening. But at the grassroots level, things are slowly changing. But only if the pressure is kept up. Then, once it reaches its peak, you get things like the famous civil rights movements or the popular Occupy Wallstreet movement - things that actually cause a stir and then, potentially cause a positive change. But americans are continually told, in many different, often subtle ways, that they should just give up. Try compare american union history with that of other Western European countries, to see the contrast.

    EU: Tons of unions and huge outcries whenever companies or governments try to reduce people's rights or worsen their circumstances.

    US: Barely anyone says anything and those that do, simply insist that unions are evil or something.
  17. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 654   +289

    Unions on paper are a good idea. In practice, they are just as susceptible to abuse, corruption, and power hunger as the companies they work with/for.

    But the unions that think Trump is going to save them from the big, bad globalization devil are delusional. They chose to remain local [national] in the face of globalization, and became irrelevant in the process.
  18. Kunming

    Kunming TS Maniac Posts: 308   +184

    Just because they're susceptible to it, doesn't mean they're invalidated. It just requires more effort and better practices. Unions have been sabotaged in the us.

    They also don't become irrelevant in the process - that's wrong. They simply need to also work together with unions elsewhere. Through, for instance, shows of solidarity. It'll take a lot of effort, but that's how you do it. For instance, if workers in the us complain about Caterpillar moving production to Vietnam and Vietnamese workers also complain about the low wages and both unions squeeze Caterpillar together, that will have a big impact potentially. But if one doesn't care about the other, then both fall.
  19. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus TS Evangelist Posts: 2,639   +492

    I'm confused. Would it be better to be given an "improvement" program - or to be fired on the spot? I would take the improvement program for what it is worth (clear notice that I do not have support from my boss) and get out on a job search.
  20. Rippleman

    Rippleman TS Evangelist Posts: 753   +347

    A job is voluntary. Don't like it? Quit.
    p51d007 likes this.
  21. p51d007

    p51d007 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,164   +552

    Is someone holding a GUN and forcing you to work for Amazon? No? THEN QUIT!
  22. Hexic

    Hexic TS Maniac Posts: 310   +151

    First, unions by and large ARE companies. They take payments as a business, they operate like a business, and they have competition and control over markets just as businesses do.

    Second, thinking it isn't the 20s anymore is a perfect analogy - if you attempt to use the 'humans are all greedy, it's just the way we are' is one of the largest logical fallacies for attempting to defend blatant greed, corruption, and wrong-doings. Yes, any form of bureaucracy is going to have inefficiencies, greed, and corruption - of course, that's the way the world works. Unions however, are above and beyond (for the vast majority) the threshold of 'acceptable' variances for practices in ethics.

    If you aren't union in many, many large factories (such as, one of the largest car production companies in the US), union employees are instructed by their union leadership to exclude the non-union personnel from additional help in any way, or risk being in trouble with said union.

    In theory, it's a great concept. In actuality, it's a system heavily rigged with corruption, greed, and lacking in the perks and benefits that are proposed. If you've been in a great union, then that's great for you - you are in the minority. Ask those who have worked in other various large unions around the country - the overwhelming number of them will tell you it isn't worth it, but they don't have a realistic choice a good portion of the time.
  23. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,794   +1,009

    Unfortunately it seems you were stuck with some bad apples. That really sucks and it makes everyone else in the Union look worse.
    EClyde likes this.
  24. Kunming

    Kunming TS Maniac Posts: 308   +184

    It's incredible how easy it is to convince americans to sabotage or otherwise give up on things such as unions, which are in their own best self-interest.
  25. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,794   +1,009

    "First, unions by and large ARE companies. They take payments as a business, they operate like a business, and they have competition and control over markets just as businesses do."

    Wrong. Unions and companies are treated differently under the law. Unions take dues from members, not payment for goods or services like a company does. How exactly do they operate like a business? They get their income from a completely different source than any company. They also do not have control over any market as they do not sell products / services. They control the labor, that's it.

    "Unions however, are above and beyond (for the vast majority) the threshold of 'acceptable' variances for practices in ethics."

    Lol, right. You are going to sit here and tell me that unions are worse than companies like Comcast and Bank of America? The following company that sold active duty soldier's homes while they were away? Show me one iota of proof where unions have gone farther than companies.

    "Ask those who have worked in other various large unions around the country - the overwhelming number of them will tell you it isn't worth it, but they don't have a realistic choice a good portion of the time."

    Are you saying this from experience of just pulling it out of your *** like the rest of your statements? I know union workers in multiple states and while a few aren't entirely happy, far more enjoy the benefits. I've worked non-union on telecommunications polls for Verizon, it sucks. You only get paid per poll, no over time, no benefits. Not to mention the guys that had it in would get the easy jobs, it's always the same whether you are in a union or not. Only you get paid less with no benefits.

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