Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in his last letter to shareholders on Thursday that his employees are not “desperate souls and being treated as robots,” but the company needs to improve its treatment of its workers.
Mr. Bezos previously announced his exit from Amazon’s top leadership position set for later this year and indicated on Thursday that he wants to focus on worker safety and employees in his next role as executive chairman.
He insisted that he did not take comfort in a recent union vote in Alabama, where a majority of Amazon workers at a large distribution center decided not to unionize.
“I think we need to do a better job for our employees,” Mr. Bezos wrote. “While the voting results were lopsided and our direct relationship with employees is strong, it’s clear to me that we need a better vision for how we create value for employees — a vision for their success.”
When Mr. Bezos exits, Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy will take over Amazon’s top slot. Alongside the unionization vote’s results that rankled Democrats and big labor, Amazon is also facing antitrust scrutiny and has drawn criticism from federal lawmakers on a range of other issues.
For example, Senate Intelligence Committee lawmakers ripped Amazon Web Services earlier this year for refusing to participate in a hearing on the SolarWinds hack of computer network management software. AWS later sought to distance itself from the controversy, and an AWS spokesperson said at the time that AWS does not use SolarWinds software.