World's richest man cuts health benefits workers terrible things Jeff Bezos

World’s richest man cuts health benefits for 1,900 workers—and 14 more terrible things Jeff Bezos has done

  • 02/04/2020 11:45 am ET Dara Brewton
Jeff Bezos sitting in a brown leather chair

Flickr / Steve Jurvetson

Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO, is the world’s richest man.

His current net worth is estimated to be $145.5 billion, and Amazon brought in over $230 billion in 2019. Amazon has continued to grow during the pandemic—and In a few years some have projected Bezos Would be a trillionaire.

With all those billions, Bezos can afford to be generous … one would hope. But Mr. Amazon has proven time and time again that generosity is not one of his character traits.

Here are 15 times that Jeff Bezos has been downright terrible.

1. Cut health benefits for 1,900 Whole Foods Workers

A Whole Foods market

Source / Wikimedia

Amazon bought the grocery store chain Whole Foods in 2017, but in the fall of 2019, Bezos decided he didn’t really want to pay for the part-time employees’ health benefits anymore—cutting 1,900 people off of their insurance plans.

The decision to kick employees off of their health care plans was made to “better meet the needs of our business and create a more equitable and efficient scheduling model.”

2. Shipped expired baby formula

 A stack of diapers, a baby bottle, and two folded baby blankets

Source / Pixnio

There have been numerous consumer complaints of Amazon shipping out spoiled and expired food products to its customers.

People have received items like baby formula, beef jerky, tea, and coffee creamers that were out of date. Third-party sellers account for more than half of the food items selling on the website, and there is very little accountability by Bezos’s $1.14 trillion company to ensure customers are protected.

3. Tried to buy the Seattle City Council

Skyline photo of Seattle, Washington

Source / Pixabay

Seattle City Councilmember Kshama Sawant thinks Amazon and other Seattle-based corporations should pay their fair share of the city’s taxes.

Bezos attempted to thwart Sawant’s re-election by pouring $1.5 million into her opponent’s campaign. Amazon’s attempt to buy the election was unsuccessful, however.

4. Ignored the fire in the Amazon

NOAA satellite photo of the Amazon rainforest fire

Source / NOAA

In the summer of 2019, the world watched in horror as the Amazon rainforest turned to ash as acres were burned up in fires by the second.

People around the world were looking for ways to help…except Bezos. Not a peep came from the world’s richest man who also happened to name his company after the very rainforest that was on fire. It was a fact that did not go unnoticed by Star Trek’s George Takei:

5. Threw pennies at the Australian wildfires

News footage of Australian bushfire

Screenshot / YouTube

When Australia went up in flames a short time later, Bezos did pony up a bit of cash for the relief efforts. (Perhaps he was worried about incurring the wrath of Takei a second time.)

The CEO gave a million Australian dollars which is roughly $690,000 USD. However, that is mere pennies to a man worth $145 billion.

To put it in perspective, the heavy metal band Metallica donated $750,000 to help fight the Australian fires which was $60,000 more than Bezos coughed up. Metallica’s net worth clocks in at $830 million.

6. Let employees pay taxes to him

Income tax form

Source / Pexels

Bezos is the king of getting sweet tax deals from the cities that he chooses to grace with his presence.

He was even offered a deal in Chicago that would have his employees paying income taxes to Amazon to the tune of $1.32 billion.

“Called a personal income-tax diversion, the workers must still pay the full taxes, but instead of the state getting the money to use for schools, roads or whatever, Amazon would get to keep it all instead.”

7. Benefited from an employee death cover-up

Man on a Hyster in an Amazon warehouse

Source / Pixabay

A Plainfield, Indiana Amazon worker was killed by a forklift in 2017, and Amazon was found to be at fault.

The company was cited for four safety violations and was given a fine of $28,000. But “state labor officials quietly absolved Amazon of responsibility” when Governor Eric Holcomb was trying to lure Bezos’s HQ2 to Indiana.

8. Forced employees to come to work in terrible weather

A vehicle driving on a snowy street

Source / Pixabay

Amazon ships out millions of packages per day which requires a lot of busy warehouse workers.

But those boxes wait for no one and nothing…not even blizzards. Inclement weather often has city officials calling for citizens to stay off the roads. Amazon apparently still expects employees to be clocking in as scheduled.

9. Required 60-hour work weeks

Amazon box with a sign on top that says Black Friday

Flickr / Marco Verch

All workers tied to the retail world see their hours go up during the holiday season. Workers in Amazon warehouses get stuck with mandatory 60-hour workweeks.

During peak season, Amazon workers are often expected to put in six 10-hour shifts per week.

10. Insulted his employees

Man yelling into a telephone

Source: Unsplash/Icons8 Team

According to author Brad Stone, in his book The Everything Store, Bezos has a tendency to lose it on any employees who don’t meet his standards.

He’s been known to scream harsh insults at workers, such as “Why are you wasting my life?” and “I’m sorry, did I take my stupid pills today?”

He especially does this if his employees don’t answer his questions right away.

11. Attacks small book publishers

Stack of books on a wooden table

Unsplash/Sharon McCutcheon

Many publishers were interested in Amazon when it first started out. But, little did they know what experiences they would have.

Bezos apparently loathed them so much that he told his executives to “approach these small publishers the way a cheetah would pursue a sickly gazelle.”

They abused publishers to the point that Amazon’s lawyers had to calm Amazon execs down and change the program into something more corporate-friendly.

12. Divorce and the sexting scandal

Man wearing a black t-shirt and holding a cell phone

Unsplash

In January 2019, Bezos announced that he would be divorcing his wife of 25 years. But, according to USA Today, the split was not on friendly terms.

Sources say that an affair might have been the root of the cause. Multiple sources claimed that there was something steamy going on between TV anchor Lauren Sanchez and Bezos.

Text messages were eventually leaked showing proof that there was indeed something going on: “I love you, alive girl. I will show you with my body, and my lips, and my eyes very soon.”

13. Made employees fight against each other

Smart phone with an angry emoji on the screen

Canva

According to the New York Times, Bezos had developed a different type of management style. He encourages employees to lash at each others’ ideas…in meetings.

He has also incorporated a system called the Anytime Feedback Tool, which is used to tell on fellow co-workers and also give secret feedback to their bosses.

14. Destroys mom and pop shops

Man standing in a mechanic's shop

Unsplash/Alev Takil

Amazon’s strategy has taken a toll on Mom and Pop stores. Bezos has jacked up prices and reduced the quality of goods just for the sheer convenience of his sales.

With the number of products growing, Bezos aims to take out thriving businesses like auto shops, grocery stores, postal services, etc.

This could eliminate a ton of jobs, for the sake of his growth.

15. The HQ2 debacle

A robot created out of Amazon boxes

Unsplash/Daniel Eledut

Bezos pitted many cities against each other, making them court him to open up Amazon HQ2.

Many called for action as they were going to face an easy tax break. Luckily, NYC was able to escape the potential madness with the help of AOC:

“Amazon is coming to NYC anyway – *without* requiring the public to finance shady deals, helipad handouts for Jeff Bezos, & corporate giveaways.”

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