February 2016 All hands

The meeting began with up-beat music and the a video of the Nintendo 64 kid freaking out over his Christmas gift. The company added a caption: “You get to be a part of this.” (This ubiquitous video was recorded in 1998 and has nothing to do with Amazon.) Another video followed, with a “huge thank you for all associates” from Jeff Bezos and members of corporate management.

A Senior Operations Manager took the floor and went over a list of successes for the year. He reiterated the one dollar raise Tier One associates received in June. SDF8 hired 2,000 full-time Amazon employees and 1,000 Integrity in 2015. The SOM listed a few of the 2015 peak incentives offered to Tier One employees by the company such as “pie a manager,” “balloons,” and “Crush It Week,” where managers handed out Orange Crush sodas at shift changes. “Crush It Week” also contained a clause that if the facility broke production records, specifically, if employees shipped 700,000 units per day for two days in a row, Matt would shave his head. (This was ironic, because Matt always wears a crew cut, and when, indeed, employees were shown a video of Matt having his head shaved, it was simply buzz cut with electric clippers.)

Employees understand the discrepancy between the value of these ridiculous, grade-school incentives and the massive revenue workers help create for the company with the following production numbers:

Apparel is one of the fastest growing segments for the company. SDF8 saw production records shattered during 2015 peak. The one-day Inbound record of 736,202 units was a 21.5% increase over the previous record. A one-shift record of 389,986 was a 26.9% increase. One-week of 4,346,357 was a 17.5% increase. A one year Outbound record of 105,090,901 units shipped was a 29% increase over 2014. The SOM categorized these production figures as “huge,” and said SDF8 is a “record breaking facility.”

Matt took the floor and went over “The Offer.” He said, “Of the 3,000 Amazonians we have currently, two-thirds have not had ‘The Offer.'” “The Offer” is available for 7 days. “The Offer” is a “voluntary resignation” rendering you “ineligible for rehire.” He concluded, “We don’t want anyone to take ‘The Offer’ . . . We want people who want to be here . . . Taking the offer severs your relationship with the Amazon.”

Sunender spoke after Matt, first focusing on Connections questions. He noted that Connections collected 3.1 million responses across the network during peak, emphasizing “team spirit.” Positive responses to the “two top questions,” “Is your manager willing to help you?” and “Do your team members make your work more enjoyable?” “highlight change in culture” from 2014.

Sunender announced current organizational changes: A young man manager will be the new Outbound Senior Operations manager. Another young man manager will be the new Senior Change Manager. Another young man manager will be the new Inbound Senior Operations manager. Most significantly, Matt will be moving to launch CMH1 in Columbus, Ohio. Sunender will be Matt’s successor as the new SDF8 General Manager.

Sunender also announced a new SDF8 program to recruit at local high schools. This is a bit heartbreaking to me, knowing what these kids will face at Amazon and what their chances will be of making a successful run as an Amazon employee. Jobs for young people are not always easy to come by, but because of the exploitative nature of SDF8 employment, I suggest to local high schools in the Jeffersonville, New Albany, and Louisville areas to not allow Amazon access to our students unless it makes policy changes effecting drastic turnover reductions.

There are two distinct atmospheres existing simultaneously at All hands meetings. Always, there is a lot of enthusiasm from managers. Managers want to say–Everything’s great! From Tier One employees, there is mostly blank skepticism. With the massive turnover at SDF8, there are always new employees who have never been to an All hands meeting. Even with their limited experience with the company, they still understand that all is not as it seems in these meetings. As for long-term employees, they have seen it and heard it before. They know what’s up, but they understand there isn’t much they can do about it. They have a job, so it goes.