Amazon dispute erupts

In a Seattle Times advertisement, the American Civil Liberties Union is inviting Amazon workers who have had bad workplace experiences to contact it.

Amazon operates a distribution center in Nevada.

The ACLU action is a response to an Aug. 15 New York Times article, “Inside Amazon: Wrestling Big Ideas in a Bruising Workplace,” that described an unhealthy and high pressure workplace, and to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos subseqent memo to workers saying that the Times story “doesn't describe the Amazon I know.”

The Times reported on workers who said that they were brutalized by being discouraged from spending time with their families, that the company generates turbulence as it plows through workers to get and keep high producers, and that it penalizes illnesses like cancer.

Following publication of the Times article, Bezos sent out a memo to workers urging them to read the piece and a company response at LinkedIn. Bezos wrote furhter, “But if you know of any stories like those reported, I want you to escalate to HR. You can also email me directly at Even if it's rare or isolated, our tolerance for any such lack of empathy needs to be zero.”

The ACLU ad reads, “That is a welcome first step, but it is not enough. As the Times article makes clear, the demands that Amazon places on its employees can be especially difficult for those employees who are responsible for raising children or caring for ill relatives. In America today, those employees are disproportionately women. The Times article also reports that Amazon does not have a single woman on its top leadership team, and that its workforce is heavily male.” It invited responses at