Bezos Lays Out Amazon’s Strategic Shift, Defends Work Practices After Failed Union Bid

‘We are going to be Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work,’ Bezos said

Amazon founder and world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, told shareholders in his final letter as chief executive that the company needs to “do a better job” for its employees, while signaling a strategic shift in Amazon’s priorities and pushing back against criticism of its work practices.

Bezos said in the letter that Amazon is expanding its mission to give more prominence to workplace safety and employee satisfaction.

“We have always wanted to be Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company. We won’t change that. It’s what got us here. But I am committing us to an addition. We are going to be Earth’s Best Employer and Earth’s Safest Place to Work,” Bezos wrote.

Bezos also said that Amazon’s recent defeat of an attempt by some workers to form the company’s first union in Alabama did not bring him “comfort.”

“Does your chair take comfort in the outcome of the recent union vote in Bessemer? No, he doesn’t,” Bezos wrote.

Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer voted against forming a union by a more than a 2-to-1 margin. Workers who opted against joining the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU) said they were unconvinced that the union could improve conditions that are already better than most entry-level jobs in the area.

“Amazon is not perfect, there are flaws, but we are committed to correcting those flaws and management has been, thus far, on board with us,” William Stokes, who works in the warehouse, told reporters in a press conference organized by Amazon.