Amazon Calls John Oliver’s Report On Warehouse Work Conditions “Insulting” To Employees – Deadline

Amazon Calls John Oliver’s Report On Warehouse Work Conditions “Insulting” To Employees – Deadline

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Amazon is calling John Oliver’s depiction of conditions at the company’s shipping and warehouse facilities “insulting” to Amazon workers.

Dave Clark, Amazon’s SVP of Worldwide Operations, responded to a harsh segment that aired Sunday on HBO’s Last Week Tonight With John Oliver. In the 20-minute Last Week segment, Amazon, as well as other companies with quick online delivery systems, was lambasted for the exhausting chores required of the warehouse workers.

“The injury and illness rate in the warehouse industry is higher than coal mining, construction and logging,” Oliver said during the HBO show, in which he called Amazon the “Michael Jackson” of shipping because they’re “the best at what they do, everybody tries to imitate them, and nobody who learns a third thing about them is happy they did.”

The “third thing” was the chief subject of the segment, an extended look at the working conditions of Amazon’s warehousing and shipping facilities.

Not surprisingly, Amazon took issue. “As a fan of the show, I enjoy watching John make an entertaining case for the failings of companies, governments and most recently – Mount Everest,” Clark said in a statement tweeted yesterday. “But he is wrong on Amazon. Industry-leading $15 minimum wage and comprehensive benefits are just one of many programs we offer…” (See Clark’s full statement below.)

One of the most devastating portions of the Last Week episode was Oliver’s mockery of an Amazon promotional video in which warehouse and shipping workers were depicted participating in fun and funny for-the-camera shenanigans. One woman was shown affectionately hugging an Amazon shipping box, a scenario recreated in a Last Week parody video in which the employee is repeatedly ordered to hug a box.

But Clark says that Oliver & Co. ignored the fact that Amazon’s “safe, quality work environment” is visible to the public through tours, and that “unlike over 100,000 other people this year, John and his producers did not take us up on our invitation to tour one of our facilities.”

Had the Last Week team visited, Clark said, “they would have met the amazing people who work in our operations. People whose passion and commitment are what makes the Amazon customer experience special. I am proud of our team and to suggest they would work in an environment like the one portrayed is insulting.”

Clark’s statement, posted on his Twitter account yesterday, has, not surprisingly, given folks with opposing viewpoints, many self-identified as Amazon workers or former Amazon workers, the chance to speak up. One typical response to Clark’s statement reads, “A very privileged thing to say from your warm cozy office where manual labor doesn’t exist except to lift your finger when drinking your coffee.”

Here is Clark’s statement in full:

“As a fan of the show, I enjoy watching John make an entertaining case for the failings of companies, governments and most recently – Mount Everest. But he is wrong on Amazon. Industry-leading $15 minimum wage and comprehensive benefits are just one of many programs we offer…

“We are proud of the safe, quality work environment in our facilities – so much so that we offer tours to the public, ages six and up. But unlike over 100,000 other people this year, John and his producers did not take us up on our invitation to tour one of our facilities.

“If they had they would have met the amazing people who work in our operations. People whose passion and commitment are what makes the Amazon customer experience special. I am proud of our team and to suggest they would work in an environment like the one portrayed is insulting.”

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July 2, 2019 at 03:43PM

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