Sunday, February 17, 2019

02/17/2019. I am not attacking, I am defending. Demanding to change Amazon policies

Insist on the highest standards of oppression to our families. I am an engineer at Amazon: 2017-present.

Another weekend. Sunday gives time to take a shower and prepare for upcoming strike.
Looking forward to act tomorrow.

People tell me: "Why do you need this attack? What are you starting this war for?"
Well, I do not advise anyone to misrepresent the intentions.
I don't attack. I didn't start the war. I am defending myself. I was attacked. The war has been started against me.
I lost the most valuable things - honor, civil rights, dignity.
I will not give up until I get everything back.
Ok let's go.
It is enough. Enough pain, enough fascism and genocide. If we will not stop them, they will go further. I would like Amazon to change inhuman policies.
To stop oppression, discrimination, mockery and humiliation the company should:
  • Remove leadership principle "Insist on highest standards". Leaders have relentlessly high standards, so high that many people may think these standards are unreasonably high if they harm health, lives of employees and their relatives. Leaders are continually raising the bar and driving their teams to deliver high quality products, services and processes, so parents can't see children, relatives are dying not saying good bye last time. Leaders ensure that defects do not get sent down the line and that problems are fixed so they stay fixed because it is more important than simple humanity. This leadership principle is official approval for oppression of employees families as much as managers can.
  • Remove leadership principle "Are Right, A Lot". Leaders are right a lot. They have strong judgment and good instincts. In fact this sounds like "Managers are right a lot". If I disagree with my manager and complain, I am retaliated. Manager is always "right a lot". Respectfully I know a lot of nice and smart engineers and managers in Amazon. But respectfully average Amazon manager is much less qualified then analogue from say Google. Amazon manager usually is qualified neither with technical nor with managing skills. Thus, we finally have: Non-qualified are right a lot. Then it is not a surprise that non-qualified are right in oppression, are right in discrimination, are right in their stupidity.
  • Remove leadership principle "Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit". Leaders are obligated to respectfully challenge decisions when they disagree, even when doing so is uncomfortable or exhausting. Leaders have conviction and are tenacious. They do not compromise for the sake of social cohesion. The reason for removal here is the same as for principle "Are Right, A Lot". It is lie to say that both manager and employee have the same equal rights applying this principle. The change I propose is the same: "It is prohibited to retaliate in any way against the subordinate for opposing the opinion of the supervisor".
  • Implement HR policy against discrimination based on the association with disabled person. Employees having disabled children and relatives should not be discriminated. This is a federal law: Americans with Disabilities Act 42 U.S. Code § 12112 (b)(4). Many horrible examples are described in well-cited NYT article. For example Amazon employee was disciplined because her father was was dying. Amazon promised multiple times to change its policies but they lied. HR policy still allows to all the managers such type of discrimination. It is not toxic people, it is toxic culture.
  • Stop prohibiting free speech at the "pivot appeal" procedure. This is a fake "court" created by the company to show visibility of justice against terminated and poor-performing employees. Famous Bloomberg article calls it "Kangaroo court". The most interesting thing is HR prohibits to employees tell about discrimination, mockery, hostility and retaliation of their manager during this appeal. So, this "court" judges can't see the real reasons of the conflicts between the manager and subordinate. It would be honored for Amazon if they could roll back and reverse all the previous unfair pivot decisions.
  • Implement HR policy against retaliation for taking leave to take care for sick children/dependents. Retaliation is illegal under both federal and state laws. But it is allowed by Amazon policy.
  • Change policies about HR investigations of complaints made by employees. As at now, Amazon employee almost has no chance if he complains about his manager. HR makes a visibility of investigation to tell later in the court: "we did what we can". HR protects company from employees, HR does not protect employees. Investigation mostly results in nothing. Then, often immediately after investigation employee meets retaliation by manager and termination. Investigation is performed solely by HR specialist. In the beginning of the investigation, this HR says something like "I am independent, I am a part of the separate Employee Relationship department". In fact this Human Bullshiting department is part of HR and subordinates to HR head. There is no independence. To be fair, investigation should be performed in a way of "pivot appeal" without restriction of free speech: employee should have a chance to speak about discrimination and hostility of the manager, present evidence and get justice from independent randomly chosen colleagues.
  • Inform employees of all levels and all badge colors whether working for Amazon or for vendors about changed policies. Make it necessary for blue badge managers to pass the training about new policies.
  • Implement HR policy against punishing employees for filing feedback about supervisor in Amazon Connect or any other system. Implement HR policy making Amazon Connect reports about the manager not visible to the next 3 management levels up of this manager.
  • Abandon shameful program for manipulating public opinion in social networks. It is disrespectful to any information consumer who thinks he has a right to know the true. It is a fundamental First Amendment right. If Amazonian sends referral for Amazon job to his friend, Amazon asks him for a post on social network: they think only happy employees can send referrals, they don't ask unhappy employees for social networks posts. Amazon reputation is the direct result of its oppression policies. To change reputation, they should change the policies. They can't change reputation paying for posts in social networks. It would be honored for Amazon to make a roll back and remove all the fake accounts and posts.
  • Immigration benefits should not be subject to manager's approval. Once employee is hired, his immigration benefits should be approved automatically. Nobody should have a right to stop the sponsorship until employee quits. Otherwise it gives to managers a wide range of options for oppression and discrimination. Manager knows, he can force this guy to work 16 hours a day + weekends because he in fact has a power to deport subordinate out of the country. Btw discrimination based on immigration status is prohibited by the federal law. But in fact it is allowed in Amazon.
  • Prohibit illegal tracking of employees' privacy at restrooms at the fulfillment centers. Prohibit to track schedules of using restrooms. Prohibit to retaliate for using restrooms.
  • Review and change fulfillment center work conditions which are detrimental to the health of employees. By work conditions hereby we mean any condition related to work including but not limited to work schedule, work load, work nature etc. For example, it is not detrimental to health to lift 30 pounds of weight. But it is definitely detrimental to do this repeatedly without breaks during 12 hours, 10 times a minute. Even Olympic athletes don't do that. But Amazon warehouse workers do.
  • Allow to all employees to use electronic devices and videotaping inside of fulfillment centers except of places prohibited by law (restrooms etc). Allow to share videos on public except of cases directly prohibited by the law. This make the same sense as for publishing politicians in democracy country. Open people's control is required when power is abused. Definitely Amazon abused its monopoly power if employees die, their children die, become disabled and company doesn't care. Not every employee has financial ability to file a lawsuit and get a jury judgment. But everybody should be able to attract public attention and to get public judgment. Amazon has no commercial secrets to hide in the warehouse. Company even provides tours for medias allowing to videotape its robots. The only business secret company hides is abusive culture. Amazon explains it prohibits electronics at warehouse to avoid theft. Company is not afraid of theft. What can employee put in his small pocket? Toilet paper? New $10 earphones? Company is afraid of greater loss. Video footage from inside of warehouse will cost to company $millions of reputation lost in case of publication.
You can say that these demands are unreasonable. Well, I have an answer. By setting high demands, I am following Amazon leadership principle "Insist on highest standards". Its description  says: "Leaders have relentlessly high standards, so high that many people may think these standards are unreasonably high if they harm health, lives of employees and their relatives. Leaders are continually raising the bar".

Next day of protest

2 comments:

  1. None of your suggestions appear to be thought through or logical. You claim that illegal discrimination is allowed by policy is nonsense. There are policies prohibiting "illegal discrimination", so anything illegal is automatically against the policy.

    Not sure what your problem is with Ambassadors thing. It appears to be only warehouse workers, who clearly identify themselves, and doesn't look like they, you know, lie about anything. How are those "fake"? Your paranoid assumption that anyone questioning you online is an amazon bot is laughable, and hurts your attempts to change things for better.

    As for leadership principles, none of them are absolute and none of them apply only to managers. Each one has a detailed wiki page, with "under", "over" and "just right". And, for example "Have Backbone; Disagree and Commit" principle, in my experience is usually applied by managers telling engineers (rightfully) that they are not disagreeing enough when they have valid concerns.

    -Amazon SDE

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    Replies
    1. For "Amazon Connect" I assume you're talking about "Amazon Connections"? You should probably correct it to avoid confusion with a few other things actually called Amazon Connect.

      As for program itself, there's many problems with it that have been called out, but I am pretty sure that under normal conditions management does not know who answered what. Even if answer is negative. I had a pretty incompetent manager some time ago, and team's connections scores were down in the basement. He definitely did not have access to individual answers (in his case I would not be surprised to see retaliation attempts if he did), and eventually left.

      I'm curious if your manager ever actually said anything about your feedback being negative. Or did you say that to him yourself?

      So, as much as I can tell, visibility of individual responses is already protected. And restricting team-level data would make the tool even more useless than it already is. Hunger stike or not, I don't see that happening.

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