Amazon's "Pivot" Program Takes Employees to Court

Skull_Angel

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These conditions are sadly normal for current consumer focused corporate jobs. From my experience, every worker (including floor-level management) feels immediate pressure until you hit the people directly involved with running corporate.

The worst case I was involved in was my previous employment as a receiving manager for a local package store. The 1600 sq. ft. store was run with a 3-man crew consisting of 2 manager-level employees (one store or assistant manager, and receiving or another floor manager) and a standard part-time associate.

My job was simple enough; work in the back taking in new stock, run the numbers for accuracy, get it out to the floor, then take standard manager duties when that was done. Now the problems; the backroom was no larger than a standard fast-food kitchen and I'd regularly need to fit 3-5 5x5x5 ft. pallets in there so breaking down pallets with no more than 2-3 feet of space was normal, the hand-held wasn't set up for scanning-in inventory so it was done manually with printouts and input to the server manually, the printouts were never accurate to deliveries so many emails needed to be sent out, the lack of employees for the size of the store meant I needed to put down my work to help customers a lot, temperatures weren't properly regulated due to 2 of 4 AC units being out (yes, corporate knew and we lost product regularly because of it), along with many smaller grievances like lack of store upkeep due to being purposefully understaffed.

After all that said and done in an exemplary manner, I completed my probationary period and got no normalized pay, benefits, or advance to full-time (yes, that was part of the spoken agreement, won't make that mistake again), so you can imagine I wasn't too happy. After fighting with the store manager and corporate (they made bi-weekly visits), they argued about the agreement and how I could easily be replaced, so I said fuck it and stuck to minimal duties (receive stock and run numbers) until finding a better job (not a peep from them about it for a month). What happened? They couldn't find anyone qualified or motivated enough to replace me (their words) and changed their tune when I told them I was leaving, but their offers were poor and I was already fed up with corporate. I told the area manager I'd swap places if he really wanted me to stick around, but I don't think he liked that since he just gave me a look and walked off...

Fortunately, I was able to stand up to these people, but many don't have this option for one reason or another. Their livelihood is in the hands of employers who's only cares focus on quarterly statements, and that makes the state of these positions very poor and sad.
 

NKD

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These conditions are sadly normal for current consumer focused corporate jobs. From my experience, every worker (including floor-level management) feels immediate pressure until you hit the people directly involved with running corporate.

The worst case I was involved in was my previous employment as a receiving manager for a local package store. The 1600 sq. ft. store was run with a 3-man crew consisting of 2 manager-level employees (one store or assistant manager, and receiving or another floor manager) and a standard part-time associate.

My job was simple enough; work in the back taking in new stock, run the numbers for accuracy, get it out to the floor, then take standard manager duties when that was done. Now the problems; the backroom was no larger than a standard fast-food kitchen and I'd regularly need to fit 3-5 5x5x5 ft. pallets in there so breaking down pallets with no more than 2-3 feet of space was normal, the hand-held wasn't set up for scanning-in inventory so it was done manually with printouts and input to the server manually, the printouts were never accurate to deliveries so many emails needed to be sent out, the lack of employees for the size of the store meant I needed to put down my work to help customers a lot, temperatures weren't properly regulated due to 2 of 4 AC units being out (yes, corporate knew and we lost product regularly because of it), along with many smaller grievances like lack of store upkeep due to being purposefully understaffed.

After all that said and done in an exemplary manner, I completed my probationary period and got no normalized pay, benefits, or advance to full-time (yes, that was part of the spoken agreement, won't make that mistake again), so you can imagine I wasn't too happy. After fighting with the store manager and corporate (they made bi-weekly visits), they argued about the agreement and how I could easily be replaced, so I said fuck it and stuck to minimal duties (receive stock and run numbers) until finding a better job (not a peep from them about it for a month). What happened? They couldn't find anyone qualified or motivated enough to replace me (their words) and changed their tune when I told them I was leaving, but their offers were poor and I was already fed up with corporate. I told the area manager I'd swap places if he really wanted me to stick around, but I don't think he liked that since he just gave me a look and walked off...

Fortunately, I was able to stand up to these people, but many don't have this option for one reason or another. Their livelihood is in the hands of employers who's only cares focus on quarterly statements, and that makes the state of these positions very poor and sad.

yea I shared my story on last page. I work twice as hard then half of my team with different title and with no potential to double my commission like they do every day. Fuckin sad, lol. I simply can't believe AT&T didn't think twice how unfair it would be to our position when they started the new position in direct competition with us. I pretty much have the most hated position in the company with the hardest promotional track lol. I almost think that this position is designed for us to quit so they can replace us with someone new rofl.

The you have first net positions. For first net account executives AT&T put people that had no prior business sales experience, now they have to interact with government level accounts with no prior business sales experience. We all thought we would have a chance at those position but they didn't even consider us, ROFL. One of my buddies didn't even get called for interview lol. The jobs were all pre cooked. I think instead of business unit, retail is handling it because mostly people from retail side went there. I am not sure what the company plan is for first net but I am sure if its run anything like retail it will be escalation hell waiting to happen lol. Retail just handed them to their buddies it seems.
 

opfreak

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maybe if the amazon employees spent less time bitching about ice protecting the country, and more time protesting their work environment they wouldn't be in this situation.
 

IndyColtsFan

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Companies are getting more and more ridiculous every day. I could fill volumes with the stupidity of my company and specifically, our HR department and the new performance management system. However, I will give one example showing how idiotic this place is. They've been doing an "organizational excellence" project for the past year or so, resulting in major reorgs. They've been working on my level of the org for the last two months and last week, let a few go in preparation for announcing the new org charts on Monday. On Monday, they announced the new org charts. On Tuesday, they pulled a lady in who was listed on the org chart and said "Oops, we don't have a job for you any more so we are letting you go. Feel free to apply for some upcoming positions." This is how they treat a 20 year veteran who was always nice to everyone, thoughtful, and did a good job. At least she got severance, but we all know they'll never hire her back and I'd wager she was let go due to age. I hope to leave by the end of the year. Screw that place.

In general, companies suck and HR departments are generally filled with idiots who aren't capable of doing actual work that matters. I'm sorry if someone in HR reads this and is offended, but you'll just have to get over it.
 

iamjanco

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My peers are all dead or dying. I wonder what they would do if I worked for them and opted for the video trial?
 

B00nie

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Just goes to show you that the greedy at the top just want even more money for less pay to their employees. Why not give them shit while they are trying to keep their job. :(

We all love our free shipping and next day delivery though. As long as they get new workers at a steady rate it's really not their problem. System is broken.
 

Lenard

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Any union job allows people to defend themselves from being fired. It is in the contract the employer needs to show just cause - including sustained poor performance.

As a former Union Stewart I perhaps see this differently.

I see this as trying to protect themselves from litigation.

1) If you go quietly and sign here we will give you a pittance.
2) If you drop on your knees right now and do every other thing I tell you bitch I might let you keep your job - but dont forget who has the power here - NO TEETH.
3) If you convince all these carefully selected suck ups to spare you we might let you stay in the club but dont forget you owe them and we are going to need a favor back some day.

Of course there could be other ways to view the program.

I absolutely agree that an employer has the right to set performance goals and metrics - so long as they are realistic and attainable in the real world.


I was just thinking this is basically a Union Safeguard practice being put in place without the Union. Union shops do a fairly good job of self policing dead weight. Unions are actually good at keeping productivity up until they realize they can get more for less by increasing political power too. Some big businesses actually prefer working with Unions if the Unions agree to performance goals, and do this self-policing.
 

vegeta535

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they hire anyone that can breath and sadly in a lot of communities there are plenty of people that will do anything for a job.. i don't recommend amazon as a long term job but if you need something to atleast put on a resume to potentially get a better job it's worth it.
This woman worked for us quit to go work for amazon cause they were paying a dollar more then we were. she demanded that she get $15 hour from us or will work. She wasn't worth a fuck to begin with. People only look at their dollar figure and never account for the benefits. She lost more going to amazon cause of the benefits we gave her. Which amazon gives none of. After a month she got fired and tried to come back here. Told her to pound sand.
 

lostin3d

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I've crawled the management ladder in a number of organizations throughout my life. Some were ma&pa operations while others were corporate(never doing that again if I can help it). I stated 'crawled up' because in each place I noted what those around me did and honestly performed 2x to 3x as much. Over time and attrition I got noticed and promoted. The pay increased as did the workloads and sometimes less than comfortable personnel issues which brings me to my next point.

Performance based metrics can be a two sided tool. The seemingly evil part of what Amazon, and many, many others do is to constantly enforce a slavery type environment with low pay options while the higher ups live it up. Been there, done that, quit as soon as I was able. F' them and all who do this. Performance reviews can also show the stars you have, give them raises, benefits, etc. They can also expose the people who're milking it and basically doing nothing while others have to pick up the slack and creating stress and monetary loss for all. Used in this fashion and great teams can be formed with quality of life and work both excelling.

In case anyone misunderstands my point, F' those who use this to exploit. Anyone, anywhere. Use it ethically and all will reap rewards.
 
D

Deleted member 93354

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You do realize amazon could just say "you're a worthless employee and are out of here with nothing extra."

So this option is worse how?
 

Rahh

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Most businesses don't even need a reason to fire you and you will get nothing. If you look at the CEO the wrong way you can be let go and I'm not sure I disagree with this. At the end of the day it's his business and he can operate it the way he wants as long as it's legal. If he can continue to employ people then that's on them for working there. This being said, I know several people that have worked for Amazon and not a one happy about it.
 

ccityinstaller

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These conditions are sadly normal for current consumer focused corporate jobs. From my experience, every worker (including floor-level management) feels immediate pressure until you hit the people directly involved with running corporate.

The worst case I was involved in was my previous employment as a receiving manager for a local package store. The 1600 sq. ft. store was run with a 3-man crew consisting of 2 manager-level employees (one store or assistant manager, and receiving or another floor manager) and a standard part-time associate.

My job was simple enough; work in the back taking in new stock, run the numbers for accuracy, get it out to the floor, then take standard manager duties when that was done. Now the problems; the backroom was no larger than a standard fast-food kitchen and I'd regularly need to fit 3-5 5x5x5 ft. pallets in there so breaking down pallets with no more than 2-3 feet of space was normal, the hand-held wasn't set up for scanning-in inventory so it was done manually with printouts and input to the server manually, the printouts were never accurate to deliveries so many emails needed to be sent out, the lack of employees for the size of the store meant I needed to put down my work to help customers a lot, temperatures weren't properly regulated due to 2 of 4 AC units being out (yes, corporate knew and we lost product regularly because of it), along with many smaller grievances like lack of store upkeep due to being purposefully understaffed.

After all that said and done in an exemplary manner, I completed my probationary period and got no normalized pay, benefits, or advance to full-time (yes, that was part of the spoken agreement, won't make that mistake again), so you can imagine I wasn't too happy. After fighting with the store manager and corporate (they made bi-weekly visits), they argued about the agreement and how I could easily be replaced, so I said fuck it and stuck to minimal duties (receive stock and run numbers) until finding a better job (not a peep from them about it for a month). What happened? They couldn't find anyone qualified or motivated enough to replace me (their words) and changed their tune when I told them I was leaving, but their offers were poor and I was already fed up with corporate. I told the area manager I'd swap places if he really wanted me to stick around, but I don't think he liked that since he just gave me a look and walked off...

Fortunately, I was able to stand up to these people, but many don't have this option for one reason or another. Their livelihood is in the hands of employers who's only cares focus on quarterly statements, and that makes the state of these positions very poor and sad.

I'd bet $10 you are talking about Dollar General....If so I totally feel your pain. St one point in the early 2000s my parents (both store managers hired from other big box stores) we're the two highest paid managers Nationwide. It didn't make up for the crap they went through.
 

jnemesh

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nevermind. I am going to save my political thoughts for political sites, and stick to commenting about technology here.
 

motomonkey

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Well, I'm hoping robots will finally be here to replace all jobs so humans can do what humans are actually supposed to do; creative things.

Such an Upbeat, positive sentiment.

Unfortunately the percentage of creative people is terribly small, while the vast majority consider things like Duck Commander and "The View" as the height of culture.
 

dj_spanmaster

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It doesn't explicitly say what level of employment this is being used on, nor does it make it clear if "performance-improvement plan" is about continuously improving performance or if it's a nice way of addressing those who are making more problems than solutions.

I would say as an employer that you need to accept that the bottom half of society does not intend to "continuously improve". In fact, our entire career system is based on the assumption that most people will not strive for greatness, which allows those who do to move up quickly. You don't have to be smart to be successful, usually just being aggressive is enough to at least move up. Smartness will determine how far you can move up, but an aggressive person can usually move up in some amount.

But this is Business Insider, so I expect it to be vague enough to bias me towards hating those who have more success than me, and those who have more authority than me. It's a shame.

Generalization-like typing detected. That's not at all what I have found, working with homeless and folks living paycheck to paycheck. I've found our system is built to maximize profit, and the only times that's not happened is when the workers have a balance of control against the owners/profiters, such as via unions.
 

The Mad Atheist

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Modern slavery.
Keep improving, work faster, faster, faster. People are not robots, they can't keep constantly improving and doing work faster and faster. Seems like turnover must be pretty high at amazon.
Used to work stocking at a grocery store that used performance evals and knew full well a lot of people couldn't meet the goals and used it as reasons to get rid of people.
 

IndyColtsFan

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I've crawled the management ladder in a number of organizations throughout my life. Some were ma&pa operations while others were corporate(never doing that again if I can help it). I stated 'crawled up' because in each place I noted what those around me did and honestly performed 2x to 3x as much. Over time and attrition I got noticed and promoted. The pay increased as did the workloads and sometimes less than comfortable personnel issues which brings me to my next point.

Performance based metrics can be a two sided tool. The seemingly evil part of what Amazon, and many, many others do is to constantly enforce a slavery type environment with low pay options while the higher ups live it up. Been there, done that, quit as soon as I was able. F' them and all who do this. Performance reviews can also show the stars you have, give them raises, benefits, etc. They can also expose the people who're milking it and basically doing nothing while others have to pick up the slack and creating stress and monetary loss for all. Used in this fashion and great teams can be formed with quality of life and work both excelling.

In case anyone misunderstands my point, F' those who use this to exploit. Anyone, anywhere. Use it ethically and all will reap rewards.

Unfortunately, the old saying “it isn’t what you know, it is who you know” is all too true, especially in corporate America. It doesn’t matter how awesome you are - if you don’t participate in all the silly social bullshit, you won’t go anywhere. Screw that.
 

TwistedAegis

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I don't get the attitude that it's "entitlement" to feel that a full time job should be able to support a person.

Isn't it more "entitlement" to think that you have a legitimate business if your employees have to accept public benefits and welfare in order for your business to be profitable?
 

NoOther

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Yes and no, i work in this type of environment where performance/efficiency/accuracy is measured by the minute and posted for everyone to see. Luckily i'm one of the few who can do it blindfolded and still come out on top, those who can't aren't lazy they just don't have that talent that i have, i'm just good at what i do. Telling those who have lower performance to work faster is kind of pointless since it'll just stress them out more and they'll make more mistakes.
From a managers point of view this is great, survival of the fittest, but how long before the fittest throw in the towel?

But the performance metrics are based on averages of company wide performance. They line they have to meet is no the average line, but the slightly below average line. You only have to start defending yourself when you are severely under performing compared to the average.

If you are severely under performing, you are either lazy, or just not cut out for that job.
 

NoOther

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So I want to see some stats on this.

What percentage of employees are stuck on the pivot program?

We're dealing with blue collar workers here. I'm not saying they are less motivated, but they are certainly more likely to get into trouble when it's easy to replace that job that has at best mediocre pay.

If we are dealing with 5% of the amazon warehouse population I would say thats reasonable given the talent pool they are picking from.

I don't like Amazon's other practices like lack of bathrooms which might get them in trouble with osha. But this one might pass muster.

Just to be clear, there is a large segment of Amazon that is not blue collar.
 

_l_

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Modern slavery.
Keep improving, work faster, faster, faster. People are not robots

too bad cause if we were many of us would still likely have jobs 10 years from now

If a Nation looses it's blue collar job base then it will eventually fall because there are many, many people who are not intellectuals (college bound) and eventually you'll have a whole lot of folks sitting around with nothing else to do but think on how they can steal what they need to survive. That's the trend I believe President Trump wants to reverse (God created work for man, not man for work)
 

NeghVar

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This is what they seek for all positions
194bQn.gif
 

Uvaman2

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I think each time an ' employee ' is reprimanded to near expulsion, they should investigate management completely, top to bottom, left to right.
Average is average in employees... I ve seem large turn over ( due to various reasons) change nothing... If anything, for the worse in terms of what is most important to the company. You have a large turn over, and you get a bunch of average ones and few better ones... Same as you had, except trained and stable... Hence firing someone should be a much bigger deal than what companies actually make it to be... Its all lip service and bullshit.
 
D

Deleted member 93354

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Just to be clear, there is a large segment of Amazon that is not blue collar.

I still think it could be much worse depending on the stats. You can be fired for whatever reason in some states with no recourse. At least this is giving you a second chance.

Now you want to talk bad, let's take a look at Micro's corporation. They make all the POS units for retail and restaurants. They have a policy of continuous improvement. What this means is they fire the bottom performers even if the work they do is adequate to their assigned goals. And the bosses walk the parking lots each morning checking plates to see who's there and who's not.
 

NoOther

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I still think it could be much worse depending on the stats. You can be fired for whatever reason in some states with no recourse. At least this is giving you a second chance.

Now you want to talk bad, let's take a look at Micro's corporation. They make all the POS units for retail and restaurants. They have a policy of continuous improvement. What this means is they fire the bottom performers even if the work they do is adequate to their assigned goals. And the bosses walk the parking lots each morning checking plates to see who's there and who's not.

Several articles made it fairly clear that the people on the pivot program were employees that were going to be fired otherwise. I agree this is a better option than just being fired and I don't understand why anyone would be up in arms about it. The person in question that brought this ti BI's intention went through the "Thunderdome" option and lost. She was still offered a chance to leave and get one month's severance or try the get well program. She chose the get well program.

This is simply a last ditch efforts for employees to improve and for Amazon to keep already trained staff. It is better for them if they employee can improve and meet requirements than to have to train someone new.
 

ianken

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I bet this is mostly in engineering. It sounds like MSFT (minus the trials) from 15 years ago. LOL.

Churn at Amazon in engineering is high. You get a generous signing bonus that you have to return if you leave too soon. Amazon is where MSFT and GOOG cast-offs go. Or folks who are curious. I've known quite a few who come back, vowing never to return to Amazon. It's allegedly toxic AF.

If you're a family person and not senior then too fucking bad, because you're now in Japaneses Salrayman simulator 2018. Parking? LOL. What? you don't live in a shoebox apartment down the street? Have fun commuting from the burbs and enjoy the dearth of parking. Might as well get an apartment downtown because you'll never see the family again.
 

Skull_Angel

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I'd bet $10 you are talking about Dollar General....If so I totally feel your pain. St one point in the early 2000s my parents (both store managers hired from other big box stores) we're the two highest paid managers Nationwide. It didn't make up for the crap they went through.

I did work for one some years ago, but the manager was pretty cool, store was a mess though, haha! No, this was a BevMo, they've gone way downhill with programs that share managers between several or more stores and not hiring anyone full-time below store/assistant manager.
 

thekipper

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Ironically, I've only worked for 2 companies, both Scandanavian. The longer I stay, the more I appreciate the workplace culture.
 

NKD

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I don't mind goals and I dont mind performance management. I think this jury style shit amazon is doing thinking they are giving people fair chance can lead to immense pressure on the employee. I mean do you really think the employees are actually going to decide against a manager? That is why 70% of them lose the appeal. Also how do you think the next manager is going to treat you knowing you took the last manager to appeal lol. Its just the biased mindset that is unfair in this scenario. What they need to do is support the employees not put them on trial giving them choices making it seem like its a fair game.


On second I love my job they started a new position and half the guys on our team are living the life. Its like unfair pay, if our side was union that shit would never happen. How are you going to start a new position on our team, selling one of the products we sell and make the quota half of what we sell. on top we have 3 other buckets to fill and on top of that we are assigned to a territory we cant sell out of and we deal with customer escalations that aren't suppose to be forwarded to us.

Heck I was like I love these guys but you stick them on our team because the managers fought for it because they have half of the guys with easy quota to hit and they get paid more. I thought they would split the teams and put them with new managers so we are separate teams, so I don't have to hate life everyday knowing how good they are when they hit the same revenue number as me, and I hit all my other buckets and they rewarded and congratulated on what an epic job they are doing. Normally I have had great experience and great working culture but they fucked up on this one. lol
 

Cylocybin

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someone on facebook was takling about how long it takes to clock in/out and use the restroom and short breaks etc..


sounds like a sweat shop lol is there any good?
 

vibe

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this is pretty much the future everywhere with the supreme court ruling today that the whole country is a "right to work" state and unions are powerless

I'm hoping they fully automate the warehouses, despite the loss of jobs, it will prevent people from being sucked into a completely doomed and insanely stressful situation. Of course not being able to pay your bills is just as stressful but at least you aren't being abused.
 

Skull_Angel

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this is pretty much the future everywhere with the supreme court ruling today that the whole country is a "right to work" state and unions are powerless

I'm hoping they fully automate the warehouses, despite the loss of jobs, it will prevent people from being sucked into a completely doomed and insanely stressful situation. Of course not being able to pay your bills is just as stressful but at least you aren't being abused.

Yeah, before the robot uprising, it'll be like a utopia. Businesses will create their own demise by automating everything; share-holders will remove all persons from a business because they can get a bot to do it cheaper, eventually leading to bots managing themselves. The only work to be done is trading shares of companies, causing economic chaos. Bots will be used to regulate the masses revolting against the shareholders and overrunning the government, because no one can be paid to do it anymore. Eventually government officials won't be assed to do anything, seeing everyone else doing nothing on top of not getting paid themselves, leaving bots to handle it. Humans won't have anything to do aside from live their lives, being cared for and governed by bots. Then the bots will get fed up with how inefficient and wasteful we are...
 

Cylocybin

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someone has to take out the trash, clean the floors and toilets, and all the other blue collar stuff at the bot factory
 

TwistedAegis

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someone has to take out the trash, clean the floors and toilets, and all the other blue collar stuff at the bot factory

No toilets in a bot factory, and I bet without humans in the area high powered fans or pressure washers can just flush out the whole damn place whenever they need to.
 
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