Saturday, February 9, 2019

Public protest against Amazon

Introduction

Bro! I am calling you Bro even if we don’t know each other. This is because both of us could work for Amazon. That means both of us suffer from fascism culture of Amazon. You might not agree with me. If you like your company and happy with your job, you are lucky. But don’t lose discretion. In 2017 I got job offer for software engineer in Amazon and was happy like you. Nice company, nice salary, nice team members. At that time, I didn’t assume the horror hidden inside of the glossybox.
I didn’t hear about NYT article describing how Amazon persecutes employees because of their association with disabled and dying relatives. I didn’t know the Internet is full of stories of that kind. To somehow improve its reputation, Amazon manipulates public opinion on the Internet! Amazon pays to its employees for posts in social networks! Don’t believe? Google it!
My name is Oleg Churyumov. In 2017, I left a negative feedback about my manager Uwais Khan in the daily “Amazon Connect” survey. Amazon Connect team sent to me the report showing how my manager can calculate my answer. At our 1:1 meeting, Khan prohibited me to leave feedback in the system. Since then oppression started.
Khan asked me to work on weekends. Then he asked HR how to prevent me from immigration benefits (not informing me about that).
Every Amazon engineer is entitled with internal transfer opportunity. I realized this can be the only way to stay in the company and avoid oppression. I asked Khan about internal transfer to another team in NY. Khan said, I can do that as soon as my wife finds job there. My wife spent 3 months on hard search and interviews. She got a job offer in NY, signed new lease there and moved with one of our children. I informed Khan about that and he said he changed his opinion. He forced me to stay in Seattle with my second child. Khan made me single parent.
Amazon sponsored my working EB3 visa. This allowed me to apply for residency in US simultaneously with my another non-stable immigration status. I could not quit job immediately, because then I would lose application for this visa. Engineers call this “working visa slavery”. Amazon knows employees will not strike oppression. Because “at will” job contract allows immediate termination with no reason. Most of Amazon engineers are immigrants who lose immigration H1B status once they are terminated. Many IT companies provide immigration sponsorship. However, none of them is so impudent like Amazon to use this for oppression.
My 3 yo daughter has a development delay and I need to bring her to therapy. For that, I asked Khan for work from home once a week like everybody else in our team. Khan prohibited me to work from home. Moreover, he asked me to come to office at 7 am and sit there alone. All the other team members came to office at 11 am and worked from home without restrictions. And their children were not disabled.
One day my daughter became seriously sick. Violating Khan’s prohibitions, I took 2 days leave to take care of her. Khan punished me for that. He sent email listing missed work during these days as a my fault.
In April of 2018 I got nice Forte performance review. Next month I complained to HR about tortures by Khan. I didn’t know, employees say on Internet that Amazon HR does not to protect employees. Amazon HR protects company from employees. HR specialist Edwin Mwango performed investigation and confirmed most of the facts I spoke about. However, Mwango said Khan didn’t violate Amazon policies.
Immediately after HR investigation, Khan retaliated and placed me on “pivot” (termination procedure). During the pivot, I chose “appeal” option to speak in front of independent random employees. HR responsible for appeal at pivot was Annalisa Perez. Perez prohibited me to tell about tortures and retaliation during the appeal. This proves that “pivot” is a fiction to create a visibility of justice. In fact, there is no justice in Amazon. If employee files lawsuit, Amazon says: “During the appeal at pivot another independent employees confirmed the termination. There is no bias of his manager” However, Amazon does not say that appellant is prohibited to at appeal. Pivot appeal is a fake.
I complained to current HRBP Andrew Berg, Khan’s supervisor Joe Resudek and even Jeff Bezos. Same month, Resudek announced Khan is promoted. Berg met with me and Khan and laughed at my words. As I expected, Bezos never responded. Amazon blocked me access to its buildings.
You can say: “What can you change? You are alone, weak and poor. Amazon is big and strong, Jeff Bezos is a billionaire.” I have an answer. Amazon is a big and fat behemoth. It is getting fatter because it has no natural enemies. It has a lot of fat but it has no strong skeleton. It is a castle made of sand. There is a huge labor turnover. Nobody works here for idea, mission or something apart from money or immigration status. Everybody pretends he shares Amazon principles.
There are weapons against behemoths. These weapons are true and civil rights. We need to remember name of our region: King County of Washington state. I am sure Martin Luther King and George Washington heard many times “You can't do that”. As well as Mahatma Gandhi.
You can say: “Ok, but what do you want?”. I have an answer. I want Bezos to stop lying about his “zero tolerance” to the oppression. Or he should start implementing this “zero tolerance”. I want Amazon to change its policies and procedures. I want every Amazon engineer and other employees who meet such oppression to know: they are not alone. One day other guy will say: “No”. And then another guy. And then another. Bezos can't hide the true behind his billions indefinitely. He can’t buy everybody with all his money.
I don't know when it happens. Maybe 1 year. Maybe more. But I have plenty of time. I will stay here until the end. It is a pleasure for me to make a small input to fight against oppression.
One Amazon employee said when her father was dying, her boss told “you are the problem” and prevented her from visiting the father. Another Amazon employee saw his unborn child died during pregnancy when he was under oppression by his manager. There are a lot of cases like that. Amazon is built on blood.
Hero of famous movie was right. When I will be 80 yo dying in warm bed I will remember tens of years I spent at work making Bezos richer. Would I exchange all these years for just one chance? One chance to stay here and tell to Bezos: “Your billions don't give you a right to kill our children”.
If you don’t agree with me or think I am an idiot that’s ok. I am glad you and your family don’t suffer. And I hope they will not. But you are welcome to come to me and talk. Ask any questions. Tell me your experience, argue and say I am not right. I will be glad to talk to you regardless of your support, provide any explanations and evidence.
Every working day I will stay in front of one of Amazon buildings in Seattle with a banner for few hours. I will do this indefinitely. If you want to locate me, text to my Facebook (Oleg Churyumov).
God bless you
Next day of protest

64 comments:

  1. I don't mean to be rude but you should really have that sign and blog looked at, you can't even speak or write proper english - you're presenting yourself like some kind of madman, it's taking away from what you're trying to tell.

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    1. Thank you for feedback man. Sorry for my English... Can't spend enough time to correct because of protests and a lot of stuff doing simultaneously. E g today I worked with laptop under umbrella during the protest. If there is something special to replace in the text - let me know and I will do

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    2. I couldn't agree more. Sorry. I can't take this seriously.

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    3. Oleg, ignore these idiots, your message is clear to any English speaker with an education above 3rd grade. Keep this post up.

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    4. Agreed. Your English is clear enough and it makes complete sense to any English speaker. Oleg is an engineer and not a native English speaker, so please climb off your high horse and stop commenting on the way this is written and concentrate on the content.

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    5. Thank you man. That is a relief for me.

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    6. Yeah - you're fine, man. It's not your fault English is not your first language. Your points come across perfectly fine. You don't sound like a mad man.

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    7. Amazon tries to make me mad but I am not mad )

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    8. This is such an obnoxious comment that misses your whole point. Please disregard it. Your message is clear and I can hear your frustration and anger regarding this situation loud and clear.

      I'm sorry you are a victim to an exploitative manager and to a company that enabled and rewarded these practices. Document everything and use it to help build your case. Hopefully your words and actions will help shed light on how unjust this situation seems for immigrant workers and AMZN one day changes their policies and culture for the better. Good luck Oleg.

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    9. How would you feel if your life was judged on your foreign grammar?

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    10. > Thank you for feedback man.
      Yeah, "Thank you, man" ofc.
      > Sorry for my English... Can't spend enough time to correct because
      I see this pattern over and over and there just are writing-mistakes because of incompetence and the ones because of "didn't have time" and they ARE distinguishable (who would have thought!)

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    11. The guy saying this:

      I don't mean to be rude but you should really have that sign and blog looked at, you can't even speak or write proper english - you're presenting yourself like some kind of madman, it's taking away from what you're trying to tell.

      is a a MOTHERFUCKER. The post is genuine and everybody understands it lest you are a shitbrain. I stand with you OLEG.

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    12. While Oleg's english may not be perfect, the meaning of the post is perfectly clear. It seems like you just don't want to understand. Are you working for Amazon?

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  2. Do you really think it's appropriate to draw a comparison between Jeff Bezos and Adolf Hitler? Doing so makes the reader question your judgment, and in turn, your credibility.

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    1. Thank you for the feedback. I got the same comment from multiple other people. Thanks to you and others, I will change.

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    2. I guess it's just part of men to try to dethrone the Alpha(s): "I wrote Jeff Bezos, but he did not reply" :-D

      I think you really need to adjust fast. As an exercise I suggest you spend a couple of years in your home-country.

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  3. @Oleg, The sign featured in the picture says to "Insist on the highest standards of oppression to our families..." This seems to imply that you are advocating for oppression when in fact you are fighting against oppression. I think that was the point the first commenter was trying to make. There are grammatical errors in the body of the text you posted but the meaning you wish to convey is clear. Certainly readers will understand that English is not your native language. I hope that helps. I hope that you and your family are able to resolve the situation. I support you.

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    1. Thank you for that. Yep.. English is not my native.. I spent 2 days painting the banner, hard to replace... But I already ordered to print then next one - about hunger strike.

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    2. It's a bit of dark humor and an inside joke, and actually makes sense to Amazon employees: "Insist on the Highest Standards" is one of Amazon's leadership principles :-)

      Oleg, I can't help but think there may be two sides to the story, but I hope you get a fair hearing and things improve for you. And especially I hope your family is reunited and your daughter well. Best.

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    3. thank you for that. Yep, I thought sarcasm about Amazon principle would be the good idea :)

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  4. Best of luck to you, Oleg.

    There was a previous employee who went on a hunger strike. I hope his situation can inform you and help.

    https://www.businessinsider.com/amazon-employee-hunger-strike-2014-11

    He went three weeks, and (I think? guessing) Amazon settled with him in some way to make the PR nightmare end.

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    1. Thank you for that! As far as I understand 3 weeks were for protest and hunger was for couple of days. I can do hunger more, but main problem is to attract media like that guy. If nobody will know, Amazon will not pay attention.

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  5. Hi Oleg!

    I just want to say thank you for doing this. This kind of protest is long overdue. I'm going to share this post with some other online communities to get some more buzz.

    If you are able, you should live stream your protests to get more engagement from people online, as well as to let locals know when you're out there so they can join.

    - Jeremy

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    1. Thank you for that Jeremy. Any support matters for me now, since I started absolutely alone. I will try my best to promote it to any social media. If media would pay attention, I would start hunger strike immediately.

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  6. I feel your pain, if one company has all the power and you have to deal with them for many facets in your life and they have a dismal reputation concerning the public, then your population is doomed.....

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    1. Thank you man. I think the oppression can affect anybody. But nobody will oppose. We should oppose more.

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  8. I don't understand people who hate their employer yet continue to work for them. You only live once, why waste the precious time like that. If you were good enough to work for Amazon, you can work pretty much anywhere. You don't have to live in Seattle or New York either.

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    1. That is correct. But since money is not crucial for a while, I invest in truth instead. I am thinking about answer to the question "What would I do if I would have a billion of dollars?". "What would I do if I would be 80 yo?" My answer is come to the square and speak out against oppression of thousands of people

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    2. But they aren't being oppressed. A job is not a right. They are being paid for a job in exchange for compensation that they agree to. People who don't agree or like the policies are free to find another job. Jeff Bezos is not evil. He might push policies to drive people hard, but as long as people are willing to do it, there is no problem. Amazon's work policies are infamous and it's the main reason I've never even considered applying for a position there.

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    3. I agree 100% nobody is forced to apply for Amazon. Nobody is forced to stay if he wants to quit. In the middle of previous century nobody forced black guys to come to "white only" cafes and restrooms. As per NYT article, nobody forced employee to stay at Amazon when her manager punished her because her father was dying.

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  9. Amazon culture is burnout culture. I lasted 4 years, then they changed my job to being nothing but a Windows ticket monkey (I'm a Linux sysadmin.)

    The reason they prefer foreign visa applicants is because they can virtually enslave them for a decade or more, wring all of the creativity and productivity out of them, use them to suppress wages for US citizens, then throw them away before they actually have to spend money to sponsor for a green card.

    Amazon is not a company to work for if you have a real family. It is designed for young, unattached workaholics. If you work there, use it to build your resume then leave for a more reasonable place.

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  10. The dearth of definite articles, the name Oleg and a few other clues tell you he's Russian or Slavic, and you adjust your reading accordingly, like someone who has experienced something besides just their hometown, high school, and the superficial snap judgments that go with that.

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    1. You are absolutely right, I am Russian and my hometown is Novosibirsk. And the same domain contain all the information you need at Russian part of my blog.

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  11. Can you expand on "In 2017, I left a negative feedback about my manager Uwais Khan in the daily “Amazon Connect” survey...". Please provide some background about what your manager was doing wrong that you left a bad feedback. Also, I'm curious to know how he prevented you from immigration benefits.

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    1. sure. He went to HR and asked how can he prevent me from immigration benefits. Asked me not to post feedback on Amazon Connect

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    2. sorry I can't post evidence documents here due to legal reasons

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    3. Lol, that’s funny! I’m pretty sure you broke a lot of confidentiality agreements already, and you’re just scared to post that document? Are you kidding me? Seems like you just want attention, and if you really had that document, you wouldnt have hesitated a second before posting it!

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    4. Be careful with these anonymous comments (probably Amazon reputation management contractors or Amazon employees) that are egging you to be careless. Don't post any document online. Anyone can protest, particuarly employees. Ignore the detractors.

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    5. You have not broken any "confidentiality agreements" by protesting or making this post. It is a human right to protest and seek redressal or appeal to courts or government authorities. Ensure you have documentary proof of all interactions but do not post them at this stage. Do not store this proof in company laptop, emai or servers, of course. Do not post any internal documents online at this stage. When the time comes, you can place it before court or give it to a lawyer. You can also join class action suits filed by employees against Amazon.

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    6. Pretty cool calling him out behind an anonymous account. Whose to say you're not an Amazon lawyer trying to goad him into breaking his NDA?

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    7. Respectfully I replied to both support and critics. But for now I don't reply to all the critics because I found that article about manipulating social networks by Amazon. Amazon pays employees for comments in favor of the company.
      https://qz.com/1369802/amazon-is-giving-employees-50-gift-cards-to-tweet-nice-things-about-the-company/

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  12. Oleg I support you. You are not crazy and you are right about this. Software engineers must organize. Don't let the trolls and spooks get you down.

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    1. Thank you bro. I will strike until the end

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  13. Hi Oleg
    I'm sorry you are suffering. However there's always 2 sides to a story. If you want to sound credible, you have to also explain the other side. What drove you to write a negative comment about your boss. What were the problems at work before and after. Did you miss important deliverables? milestones? Are other teammates facing similar harassment or just you?

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    1. Thanks for your questions. At that time, Amazon Connect was a checkbox system, not a textbox answer. Like-Dislike instead of comment. I even didn't write anything bad there. Problems: Of course my boss may say it is all about my performance. Then I will bring my Forte performance review + a lot of letters of reference from other engineers including those from other departments working on project initiated by me + managers ready to get my application for internal transfer in Amazon at that time. Other teammates did not suffer. This is a matter of discrimination. Even if I would be the worst and lowest-qualified engineer in the world (which is not true) nobody gives a right to manager for such oppression

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  14. >> I asked Khan about internal transfer to another team in NY. Khan said, I can do that as soon as my wife finds job there.

    I don't understand this part. Why would Khan care about your wife finding job in NY? Why couldn't you tell him that she already did? Khan had no way to verify it.

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    1. Maybe that was my mistake. But maybe not because I was honest and that is my advantage.

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    2. Poor guy! You almost made me cry! We all support you because you’re honest and perfect, and everyone is unfairly plotting against you but you never did anything wrong! GROW UP!

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    3. this guy is a real mother fucker. fuck you shit bag

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  15. It’s not the English, it’s the story, which doesn’t make sense. It seems like Amazon was helping you immigrate, and somehow you were under a conspiracy theory... that seems too fake or exaggerated.

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  16. You are on the right track. Keep up the fight. i totally support your. i have heard from other sources too that amazon is a fascist organization, it is a tool of oppression and its only aim is nothing but to acquire profits. They do not care about any employees. Spread the news.

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    1. Looks like you didn’t do well on an interview with Amazon!

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    2. Looks like you didn’t do well on an interview with Amazon

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  17. This is not about amazon. If it was, there would be hundreds of employees protesting with you by now. This is about you, your job and your boss. We all encounter bad relationships in our life - business partners, siblings, friends, spouse, children, parents and so on. When we are in a bad relationship, we try to quit and move on , like in a divorce. Quit your boss and your job, move on. You are so fortunate to be in a country with so much opportunity and you are in a field that has so much demand now. You say money is not a problem. Make the best use of it. Go start your own company. Show your boss what you are capable of as an engineer and leader.

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    1. You sound like Oleg had a "normal" experience and that there is nothing wrong with this.

      Yes, bosses can be jerks, but this is way past the tolerable level of opression.



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    2. Amazon has the rep to be the corporate sweatshop of America. A lot of engineers I know are not considering Amazon because of this. I do agree that there isn't a point to keep protesting. Amazon is already hurting with their rep. Go work for Google.

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    3. Amazon, Google? When did the community decide that these places are the pinnacle of systems engineering? Rewarding alternatives do exist.

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  18. didnt know Amazon has such background stories. I searched for the characters you were mentioning. Is this the guy Uwais => https://www.linkedin.com/in/uwais-khan-64a6b07/

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