In May 2022, Daniel Olaiwala said, The 29-year-old picker at Amazon’s warehouse in San Antonio spoke at the company’s shareholder meeting. As an employee, he held a small number of vested stock his options that could be purchased, thus making him a full shareholder, although no warehouse employee has ever submitted a proposal at an annual meeting. There was no. On Amazon’s plans to raise profits and dividends.
near the end of the virtual meeting, an Amazon moderator played a two-minute recording previously submitted by Olayiwola. In a statement, Olaiwala called for solutions to end the company’s “injury crisis” by removing productivity quotas and monitoring mechanisms that encourage workers to prioritize speed over safety for fear of losing their jobs. He said he was proposing a solution.
“I personally have felt the physical pain of working for Amazon,” he said on the recording. “I’ve seen my colleagues working exhausted.”
of Resolution He submitted with the following quotes news investigation, research the study,and government inspection report Collectively, Amazon warehouses have higher injury rates than non-Amazon warehouses. Conditions that may violate labor laws.
in the Summary sent to shareholders Ahead of the meeting, Amazon opposed calls for policy changes, noting that its “worker accident rate” has declined since 2019. process improvements to improve employees and working conditions,” the company said. “Our commitment to supporting employee happiness and success is demonstrated through competitive compensation and benefits.”
In a statement in response to questions in this article, Amazon spokesperson Sam Stephenson defended the company’s productivity expectations. This, he said, is “based on time and tenure, peer performance, and adherence to safe work practices,” as well as the use of surveillance. This is “a common practice at nearly every major retailer in the world” and helps “for employee safety, inventory quality, or protection from theft.”
There was a heavy silence when Oraiwolla finished recording. Moderators then noted that Amazon had encouraged shareholders to vote against the resolution. And most sank the proposal.
Oraiwollah wasn’t sure if he was just sacrificing his job.
“I was very scared to speak out for a long time, but I was thinking: Dude, they’ve already fired everyone you know.consider yourself fired“I’ve been thinking,” he said. They can fire you anytime. Say what you’re saying while you’re here.”
Amazon spokesman Stephenson said Olayiwola’s work would not be in jeopardy because “retaliation of any kind will not be tolerated.”
But Olayiwola had no idea what to expect when she showed up at the warehouse the following week. He said his manager stopped him on his way to his workstation. Surprisingly, the manager told Olaiwala that he respected him for speaking up. But a job in an Amazon warehouse is better than most alternatives, he added.
he was not fired. However, none of his suggestions were implemented.
Last summer he started a podcast with a provocative title Surviving Skamazon, posted a short episode on YouTube. So far, in all, he has seven 2-10 minute monologues, each focusing on different parts of company policies and how they affect workers. The video has only a few hundred views and is far from the sophisticated work of a full-time creator, but unorganized, low-wage workers have created independent channels to serve public and non-public audiences. Anonymously call out companies that are actively hiring them. Olayiwola hopes his initiative will encourage other people to post their voices. Perhaps one day they will form a massive digital chorus of calls for corporate accountability.
“The sooner we start the dialogue, the sooner we can see what’s going on and see what we can try to change or fix,” he said. beginning Episode uploaded in July.
Podcasts are just one part of his efforts to spread his message.last year he end interview and At least four news outlets editorial in fortune, and Volunteered As leader of United for Respect, an advocacy group that campaigns on behalf of retail workers.
“People were so scared to speak up,” he said. “I felt compelled to do something to encourage others to share their experiences working at Amazon.”