Ecommerce stores warehouse

Amazon warehouse worker to propose reforms at shareholder meeting

Amazon executives could face an awkward moment at the company’s next shareholder meeting. Daniel Olayiwola will become the first Amazon warehouse worker to present a resolution at the company’s annual general meeting on May 25. The San Antonio Employee proposall asks Amazon to end its two staff monitoring and productivity quotas. Practices require workers to “put speed before safety”, Olayiwola said, and there would have been little significant change.

The staff member pointed to OSHA data showing that Amazon Injury Rate were “well above” the national averages, in particular at automated installations and during peak periods. He blamed this largely on policies such as Time Off Task, which monitors how much time workers spend away from their post tools. The combination of monitoring and quotas would give employees little room for breaks or a safe and sustainable work pace.

We asked Amazon for a comment. The online retailer has relaxed its approach in some respects, such as averaging away times over a longer period to reduce pressure on warehouse staff. Founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos has been pushing for Amazon to become “the safest place to work”.

However, Amazon is still closely monitoring productivity and has recently been accused of pushing workers beyond breaking point. Employees and contractors at the Illinois warehouse that collapsed in a deadly tornado last year are believed to have been hurry to keep working despite the extreme danger, for example.

We are not counting on the adoption of the resolution. Many companies’ shareholder resolutions frequently fail if they challenge the status quo, and Olayiwola would demand a major shift in Amazon policies. Even if the proposal does not survive, it highlights growing tensions between Amazon and a base demand better working conditions.