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MegaCorp Bashing - Amazon Edition
Old 07-07-2019, 09:44 AM   #1
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MegaCorp Bashing - Amazon Edition

I was reading a couple of articles today bashing Amazon, and I started to see the issue in a different light. Here is a link to one of the articles.

Basically, the article (and others it linked to) was just a laundry list of complaints from a relatively small number of malcontent employees.

Having been a malcontent myself, I recognized many of the complaints. I suspect many MegaCorp employees experienced them; pressure to work overtime, rigidity regarding attendance and punctuality, indifference to personal problems, cuts in benefits that management spins as positive, harsh bosses, silly slogans and contests to improve performance, etc.

My MegaCorp did everything the article mentioned. In fact, reading it, I thought maybe Amazon might be a slightly better place to work. Sure, complainers, lazy workers and drama queens wouldn't like it there. But it sounds like pay and benefits are comparable to other big companies, if not better, as are policies surrounding paid and unpaid leave. Conditions are often even worse at small companies which don't have a strong incentive to maintain a public image, and don't have large HR and Legal departments to keep overbearing managers in line.

I totally agree that large companies are squeezing every dime out of their employees. I do believe that top executives don't deserve however many times the average salary they receive.

But it seems just plain lazy to pile up on Amazon, when they all do the same things.
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Old 07-07-2019, 10:58 AM   #2
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Ha, we megacorp bashed all the way to FIRE. Took 30 years but not complaining anymore. I wonder if the younger generation reads all about FIRE and 20-30 years of working seems impossible. When we were starting out, we were so grateful to megacorp. Actually, the megacorp umbrella was pretty amazing for many expenses. They bought 2 of our houses when we moved and we didn't have to worry about selling. Just got 3 appraisals and sale price based on that. They covered all closing and real estate expenses when we moved. There were so many perks along the way. But who doesn't megacorp bash?
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Old 07-07-2019, 11:08 AM   #3
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Some of it is probably warranted but during my working career it sure seemed like the poor performers were the most vocal when it came to company/management bashing.
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Old 07-07-2019, 11:15 AM   #4
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I know a couple of folks who are at the executive level at Amazon (the seem to really like the retired military O-6s and up) and they are tickled to death to w*rk for them. One of them went to Harvard Law after retiring from the AF and instead of doing the law thing, he is an Amazon in England and seems to really like it.

For me? Yeah, I don't think so.

Also, I don't think this is really anything new when it comes to the hourly employees. In 1992, I worked for a very short time in a large warehouse building pallets for a large grocery chain. The pay was excellent for my age ($27.38/hour in today's dollars) but the work was very hard and dangerous. There was a quota system in place and to meet your quota, you really had to do some stupid things. People were hurt pretty much every other day and one of my best friends lost his finger in a pallet jack incident. The last day I worked there, one of the hardest workers I have ever known (a gentlemen in his late 50s with 4 kids if I recall correctly) was killed when a massive pile of frozen chicken fell and crushed him.

Those warehouses were all up and down the industrial road, so I imagine something similar was going on in everyone of those buildings.

I don't know how long those conditions went on, but the chain closed a number of years ago. To this day, when I see a "pickers sticker" on a box in the grocery store, I get a chill down my neck.
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Old 07-07-2019, 11:17 AM   #5
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Some of it is probably warranted but during my working career it sure seemed like the poor performers were the most vocal when it came to company/management bashing.
For DH, not sure you'd call it bashing, but he often thought they were approaching problem solving the wrong way. He'd say "why don't they...then...and what if..." I'd say, "Hon, you should be the CEO"
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Old 07-07-2019, 11:19 AM   #6
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Some of it is probably warranted but during my working career it sure seemed like the poor performers were the most vocal when it came to company/management bashing.
This x 100!
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Old 07-07-2019, 11:22 AM   #7
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Some of it is probably warranted but during my working career it sure seemed like the poor performers were the most vocal when it came to company/management bashing.
+1

Generally, yes! OP used the term "malcontent" and that certainly fits much of the time.
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Old 07-07-2019, 11:33 AM   #8
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But it seems just plain lazy to pile up on Amazon, when they all do the same things.
I agree with this, and would add that as investors we have benefited greatly from all that squeezing by those same MegaCorps.
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Old 07-07-2019, 11:34 AM   #9
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I don't think it is a black and white issue. Some companies care more about their employees' well being and safety than others. Some have a culture of promoting real azzhats and ignoring harassment and retaliation. Some are so large that you'll find examples of good and bad practices in the same company. At MegaMotors, the difference in working in the design / production side of things was night and day different from working in the R&D side, for example.
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Old 07-07-2019, 12:26 PM   #10
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I agree with this, and would add that as investors we have benefited greatly from all that squeezing by those same MegaCorps.



I'm glad I'm just an investor and no longer an employee
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:00 PM   #11
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My favorite reason for separating health insurance from employment in the USA (for everyone, even gov't workers) is that would mean employees are always free to leave their employer and go someplace else. No pension or health insurance issues holding them back if they see better opportunities. If discontented people stay on but continue to constantly bitch, we could then be fairly confident they are already at the best job they can get or they'd be gone with nothing holding them back. And we can at least ask them to shut up or at least go into a closet and shut the door during the bitch sessions!
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:10 PM   #12
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All of the companies I worked for were pretty good. Three of the bosses were anuses. It took a while but two were eventually fired and I quit the third after I had had enough.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:14 PM   #13
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I'm glad I'm just an investor and no longer an employee
You and me both, brother. Iím glad I went to work for MegaCorp, and Iím just as glad I quit when I did.

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My favorite reason for separating health insurance from employment in the USA (for everyone, even gov't workers) is that would mean employees are always free to leave their employer and go someplace else. No pension or health insurance issues holding them back if they see better opportunities.
I agree with this.

Another reason, thatís only become clear in the past few years, is people with employer provided health care insurance donít understand the fundamentals of health insurance. Employees are shielded from its complexity and unaware of the cost. When they no longer have employer coverage is when they realize how costly it is and how complex as well.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:42 PM   #14
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When it comes to jobs, I feel like we each made our deal when taking the job, and got the best deal available considering our skills and capabilities (or lack of same). So, I think that those complaining about Amazon, or any job, don't have a leg to stand on.

Yeah, I mention my tiny pension a lot, but usually just to joke about it. I have no complaints! I didn't realize how small it would be, when I first took the job (didn't "do my homework" I guess). But then, I didn't completely realize how important it would be to be one of the few with a job left after Katrina, either, so it all evened out.

As for co-workers, management, and working conditions, no job is ideal and mine wasn't either but that wasn't the point. Work is called "work" and not "play" for a reason, y'know? When things get tough, either shut up and double down, or quit if there is another job out there that is SO much better and they are simply dying to hire you.

That's my opinion... YMMV!!
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Old 07-07-2019, 02:23 PM   #15
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There are a lot of similarities between the Amazon job and any nursing job at a major hospital .At least the nurses get paid well for all the abuse .
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Old 07-07-2019, 02:47 PM   #16
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All of the above is pretty much along the same lines I was thinking.

We did love to joke about the stupid things MegaCorp did. But in the final analysis, I worked there because I chose to, and compared to other options, it was a pretty good job. As someone pointed out, it's called "work" for a reason.

Nobody ever shed a tear for me or my co-workers when our benefits were cut, our working hours and expectations increased, our bosses were difficult or when many of us were laid off. The whole place could have shut down and it would barely make one news cycle.

So I find it hard to relate to all the negative press about Amazon. The two products I ordered this morning are already on their way, and will be here tomorrow. Both cost about half of what the local retailers are selling the same thing for, and I don't have to drive 10 miles each way to get them.

I see no reason I should feel guilty about that. Nobody who bought my MegaCorp's products ever did.
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Old 07-07-2019, 03:12 PM   #17
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While I would not consider the working conditions to be ideal they are not bad by normal US standards for warehouse work. The place I work is much worse than what was in the story. We get paid $19/hr or so but everything else is worse than what was described for Amazon workers. At least their peak hours are in winter. Ours are in Summer with people working in a 90 degree building with high humidity doing manual labor for 12 hours a day 5-6 days a week. The only breaks are 3 10-minute breaks, no actual "lunch break". As usual office people have it much better for less work. That is the case everywhere and is not going to change. Amazon is not worse than average.
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Old 07-08-2019, 06:54 AM   #18
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Ours are in Summer with people working in a 90 degree building with high humidity doing manual labor for 12 hours a day 5-6 days a week. The only breaks are 3 10-minute breaks, no actual "lunch break".
Does this not violate local labor laws? In my state, there it no way a company can ask for a 12 hour day w/o a lunch break (30 minutes).
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Old 07-08-2019, 07:24 AM   #19
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Does this not violate local labor laws? In my state, there it no way a company can ask for a 12 hour day w/o a lunch break (30 minutes).
Apparantly Wisconsin has no law requiring any break at all. Of course they can't stop you from using the bathroom as needed but there is no requirement to be given an actual sitdown break to rest and eat. I am on restrictions because of chronic pain following a total hip replacement and I still only get two 10-minute breaks in an 8 hour shift.
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Old 07-08-2019, 06:06 PM   #20
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Apparantly Wisconsin has no law requiring any break at all. Of course they can't stop you from using the bathroom as needed but there is no requirement to be given an actual sitdown break to rest and eat.
Wow. Even here in WV, state law requires a minimum of two 15-minute breaks and a 30-minute break in an 8-hour period.

Must be because of those union rabble rousers in the last century.
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