- Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images
- Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has resumed day-to-day management of the retail giant.
- The company told the New York Times that Bezos has “turned back to the here-and-now problems facing Amazon” as it faces multiple pressing problems.
- As well as seeing its supply chain disrupted by COVID-19, Amazon is the target of a backlash from workers at its warehouses who are unhappy with their treatment during the pandemic.
- Though warehouse workers have reportedly claimed they lack adequate protective equipment and distancing measures, an Amazon spokeswoman described these allegations as “simply unfounded.”
- Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
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Jeff Bezos has resumed day-to-day management of Amazon amid turbulent times for the retail giant.
The company told the New York Times that Bezos has, in the newspaper’s words, “turned back to the here-and-now problems facing Amazon” as the firm effectively becomes the world’s supermarket during global lockdowns.
Bezos’ day-to-day work involves a mix of practical decisions and public relations.
Bezos had outsourced the bulk of everyday decision-making to his deputies, instead focusing on high-impact and long-term projects such as the development of voice assistant Alexa or the cashierless Amazon Go stores.
The NYT writes that he’s now holding daily calls to help make decisions about inventory and testing, as well as helping make up-to-the-minute decisions about how Amazon responds to public criticism. He’s also talking to government officials and made a visit to an Amazon warehouse in April for the first time in years.
Amazon’s business has benefited from global lockdowns, as people stuck at home shift to online shopping. The company is seeing demand during the first two quarters of 2020 akin to its peak holiday period, and is hiring some 175,000 additional warehouse staff to cope.
But even as it sees rising demand, the firm faces backlash from vital workers at its warehouses, who feel they are risking their health to continue working but with little safety net.
Scores of warehouse workers have told Business Insider that they feel unhappy with sick pay policies and safety measures implemented by the firm, saying they don’t feel adequately protected. Hundreds have planned to walk out in protest this week, although Amazon has claimed allegations it doesn’t take safety seriously are unfounded.
Amazon is also facing multiple inquiries from labor regulators into whether it unlawfully retaliated against workers who spoke out about its coronavirus response, having fired multiple employees who did so. In a similar vein, it tried to shut down a virtual event where workers spoke out about warehouse conditions.
Jeff Bezos has tried to quell some of the criticism, with Amazon raising its minimum wage and the amount paid for overtime, and building its own lab to test frontline employees for the virus.
Amazon did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.